Heading into the Metro Baton Rouge Invitational 7 on 7 Summer League, the goal for Albany coach Mike Janis isn’t complicated.
“We’re wanting to throw the football, so it’s definitely going to be a big deal for us,” Janis said. “It’s something our kids are really looking forward to.”
This season’s 7-on-7 league is also a departure from last season when Janis was hired to replace Blane Westmoreland after league play had begun. The Hornets’ only 7-on-7 action of the summer came in one game against Springfield.
In addition to league play, Albany will also compete in tournaments at Southeastern Louisiana and LSU.
League sessions will be held each Wednesday during June, with action taking place at Denham Springs High, Walker and Live Oak.
Springfield, Broadmoor, Dutchtown, Episcopal, Madison Prep, Northeast, Slaughter, St. Helena, Ponchatoula, University High, Woodlawn, Zachary, Hammond, Istrouma, Central Private and Port Allen are also in the league.
The Hornets will be at Walker against Northeast and St. Helena on Wednesday with action beginning at 10:30 a.m. at each site.
“It’s just something we’re putting a lot of effort into and looking forward to seeing how the kids respond,” Janis said. “That’s the big thing is just us getting the reps and getting to work at it. I think in both of those tournaments, I’ve seen some of the list of teams that are planning to be there, and also with our 7-on-7 league, we’re going to see pretty stiff competition.”
Offensively, the main focus for Janis this summer will be gauging the development of sophomore quarterback J.J. Doherty as the Hornets continue to work on installing a spread offense.
“I thought we did a really good job in the spring of kind of learning some of the routes,” Janis said. “We kind of got the basics installed, and I thought the guys did a good job. (We’re) just kind of developing those skills at the wide receiver – get off the ball (and an) emphasis on having to catch the football and do that properly.
“But really at the quarterback position is what I’m looking for offensively is that we learn (and) get the timing down – build a relationship with those receivers where we have that experience going out there and throwing the football to them, and just working on mechanics and footwork," Janis said. "That’s something that, especially our quarterback and really anybody who plays quarterback for us, hasn’t really had an opportunity to do coming from a power-I offense in the junior high and the wing-T when they got to high school. It’s definitely a learning experience for them and some skills that we’ve got to develop here over the summer.”
Defensively, Janis said his main focus is making sure the Hornets’ linebackers and secondary are able to communicate with each other in coverage.
“That communication aspect of playing defense and being in coverage and knowing your responsibility is what I really want to see – everybody just being where they’re supposed to be and figuring out their alignment,” Janis said. “I thought our alignment in the spring game was our biggest downfall defensively. We just struggled lining up in the right place, and I think this will give us an opportunity to continue to work on that.”