Calling all linemen.
If only it were that simple.
“We have a ton of skilled guys. Everybody in the nation is always begging for more linemen. We’d like a little bit more of that but we play the hand we are dealt,” St. James coach Robert Valdez said during a Wildcats spring practice session on Thursday.
What Valdez does have on hand is a bit more of an experienced team coming off a season in which he proclaimed his squad the youngest he’s ever had in his coaching career.
Young players such as Shazz Preston and Marquell Bergeron will be heading into the sophomore seasons but with playing experience under their belts.
“You have some young guys that need reps at running back and receiver but those guys have experience, so it should slow down for them,” said Valdez.
Valdez also will have a group of experienced incoming seniors including Shen Joseph, Shamar Smith, Tyshone Williams, Sean Lebeouf and Logan Gravois.
“The kids are a little more familiar. They are moving a little bit more brisk,” Valdez said.
With numbers in the ’60s out for spring practice, the Wildcats are emphasizing fundamentals in the early part of drills, all of which have been in full gear.
“We are doing a lot of teaching right now. We are not in regular-season mode, by far. We are just trying to install, implement and just work on mechanics and fundamentals. We spend a lot of time trying to teach how to tackle, block and line up and all those things,” Valdez explained.
That will change as spring practice progresses.
“Toward the end of spring practice, at that point in time, we taper off on the teaching and it becomes evaluation. By the end of spring practice, we kind of know who some of our guys are and what they can do so you start to see who else can come in and give you good reserve roles,” said Valdez.
The Wildcats’ practice schedule calls for working out three days a week for three weeks, concluding with the Spring Game against McMain on May 18 in New Orleans.