Nick Saltaformaggio dilemma to open spring football practice at Hahnville is one most coaches would love to have.
“We have a lot of experienced kids coming back but then there is a significant drop off to
inexperience. Our twos are really threes but our ones are pretty good,” the Hahnville coach said two days into spring practice for the Tigers.
An area where the Tigers could be particularly good is on defense.
With the return to health of running back Darryle Evans on offense an already strong defense could be even stronger with Brandon Comardelle switching from ball carrier to defender.
“We have Lentrell Pettetant back from last year, who had a really good year for us last year,” said Saltaformaggio. “We lost Max Farrell, who had a good year for us. Bringing Brandon over gives us a lot of speed, but he is a ferocious hitter. He still will run the ball some but he’s really solidified us defensively at the invert spot (hybrid defensive back/outside linebacker).
“Other than that, we literally really return everybody else defensively. We are excited about where we can be on defense.”
Over the last couple of years, Drew Naquin has seen sporadic action at quarterback. Jha’Quan Jackson and Andrew Robison were at the position in the recent pas but with their departure, Naquin now is expected to be the main guy directing the offense.
“He’s the guy,” Saltaformaggio said. “He’s the guy we are going to do with. Quite honesty, we are going to be as good as he allows us to be. We have a lot of really good players back, but at the end of the day, wins and losses will come from the quarterback position.
“That’s anywhere, if you think about it. The Saints are as good as Drew Brees. LSU will be a good as Joe Burrow. Tulane is going to be as good as Justin McMillian. We will be as good as Andrew Naquin allows us to be.”
How good Naquin, Evans and the rest of the Hahnville offense might be could well be determined by how the Tigers adapt to a new offense.
“We’re kind of a true spread team now,” said Saltaformaggio. “It’s kind of hard for me to say that, being an old triple-option guy. We are emphasizing a lot of our RPO (run-pass option) game.
“Still, at the end of the day, if we have to get a yard, we will turn around and give it to 2 (Evans) and let’s see what he can do because we are big up front.”
The offense, Saltaformaggio said, has been in a searching mode ever since the departure of star running back Anthony “Pooka” Williams. Williams will be going into his second season as a Kansas Jayhawk.
“What I like most about it is we have answers to what people are doing to us,” the Hahnville coach said. “Our answers in the past were just give it to ‘Pooka’ and he will make something happen. When ‘Pooka’ graduated we didn’t have an answer.
“I feel good where we are and what we’re doing offensively, we just have to kind of get better at doing the little things well and the big things will come our way.”
Hahnville will continue to practice daily through Saturday. The following week, the Tigers are slated to practice Monday, Wednesday and Thursday before hosting St. Augustine in the Spring Game schedule for 5:30 p.m. May 10.