If any team was looking forward to the sports calendar turning to the year 2018.
After back-to-back state championships, a young Lutcher football team went through the growing pains of an un-Bulldogs-like 4-7 season.
As they say, that was last year.
“To be back on the field and have those high expectations again – that’s one of the things we’ve known will always be here regardless of what happens the year before. We have to put that behind us. One of the things we just really focused on throughout the offseason and going into this fall’s preseason-type practices is 2017 doesn’t matter anymore,” third-year coach Dwain Jenkins said Monday during the Bulldogs’ opening day of fall practice. “It just doesn’t matter, just get better. That’s one of the themes we have for each and every day. It doesn’t matter what happens in the building or what happens at home, when we get on the field for the two-and-a-half or three hours that we have, we just have to get better each and every day and let everything else take care of itself.”
For the opening three days of drills, the Bulldogs will work in shells before putting on full gear.
“A lot of teams, as soon as they get pads on they start going against each other,” Jenkins said. “We really like to continue to extend our teaching process. Obviously, we’ve done a lot of teaching going up into this time without pads on and now that you put the pads on, you want to make sure you transition the right way and still teach hand placement and teach keeping your head out of the tackle and keeping you head out of the block and those sort of things. We need to continue to improve on those things for the first couple of days.”
A lot will be taking place at Lutcher on Thursday. Along with donning full pads for the first time, it’s the first day of school and Picture Day for the Bulldogs.
“One of the things that I’ve done every year I’ve been a head coach – and I know a lot of people would probably shy away from it – but on the first day of school we are taking team pictures and that first day of school happens to be the first day we put full pads on them. We are still taking pictures and we will go in full pads on Friday. I think if you ask any coach across the country the two worst days to practice are Picture Day and the first day of school. We just as well get them all done in the same day,” Jenkins said.
The Bulldogs will practice daily through next week before they host West St. John in a scrimmage slated for 6 p.m. August 16. A week later, Lutcher faces another familiar preseason foe when the Bulldogs take on Destrehan a jamboree.
“It’s a continuous build,” Jenkins said. “We go this week and continue to install and really just kind prepare fundamentally. The next week against West St. John, we kind of follow that same outline but we get to do it against somebody else.”
“Really, that’s always good because after about 10 days of practice offensively and defensively, you kind of recognize each other’s calls and you need to see it against somebody else and start that preparation and get to see a new face – somebody you haven’t lined up against and see how you compete against those guys. Then we go into another week of dress rehearsals with Destrehan in the jamboree and really it’s just a great time to polish up and make sure your special teams and substitutions are in order before they start counting for real.”