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Riverside Rebels off to sluggish start to begin fall practice

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  • Feature Story
  • By:
  • George Becnel
  • Posted:
  • August 07, 2017 - 8:00pm

Riverside Academy's first-year head coach Chris Lachney (right) looks on intently during a Rebels drill to open fall practice on Monday afternoon.

The way Chris Lachney looks at things, Monday wasn’t quite his first day of practice as head coach of Riverside Academy.

“That happened in May,” said Lachney, the former defensive coordinator of the defending Division III state champion Rebels. “Today really wasn’t the first of anything. The only thing we did today for the first time was we put shoulder pads on for the first time this fall. It’s just the culmination of a lot of different things. This is not about me or my first day.”

Rain hit an already wet practice field prior to Monday’s afternoon workout, leaving the Rebels flopping around in a muddy mess. It was enough the Riverside squad distracted.

“That shouldn’t matter, but it did,” Lachney said. “That’s what I’m disappointed in right now.

“Two things happened today that were out of the ordinary. One, we have shoulder pads on. Two, it’s wet and sloppy. Why did we let either one of those two things affect us?”

It was the mental aspect, more than any physical mistakes that had the Riverside coach concerned Monday.

“We have good football players on this team,” Lachney said. “If we are not making plays and doing the right things, you can rest assured it’s mental. These kids are talented and able to do everything we’re asking them to do. When they don’t do it, it’s nothing physical. You can’t look at them and say, ‘he just can’t do that,’ because I’ve seen him do it on the biggest stage.

“It is a little disappointing when you have a day like that but the beauty of what we do is there is always tomorrow and we have a chance to reinvent ourselves every single day.”

Moving forward, the emphasis for the Riverside leading up to the start of the season will be on the Rebels themselves, rather than any opponent, according to Lachney.

“We don’t talk about one offensive formation or defensive front any of our opponents play,” the Riverside coach said. “We are about to run the gauntlet. We are about to play Southern Lab, Barbe, Rummel and De La Salle. You can’t overlook anybody, but right now, our focus has got to be on us.

“If we are teaching something right now that isn’t going to benefit us in all four of those games, then we are teaching the wrong thing. I tell the coaches all the time, if you say it right the first time, you don’t have to say it again. That’s kind of what we are focused on right now.”

George Becnel | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

George Becnel is an award-winning journalist and has been a sports writer and editor for more than 30 years.