SPRINGFIELD – The start of preseason camp can’t come soon enough for Springfield football coach Ryan Serpas.
The reason? The Bulldogs have some cleaning up to do.
Springfield participated in the Baton Rouge area 7-on-7 passing league in June, but Serpas said the team’s performance in a session against Albany, Central Private and Ascension Christian in mid-July wasn’t as crisp as he would have liked.
“Having that time off (between league play), definitely, you could tell that there was regression on some of that stuff, and we’re going to try to clean that stuff up,” said Serpas, whose team opens preseason drills Aug. 5.
The other part of the equation is the ability to add the team’s running backs, expected to be led by Arshun Andrews, and offensive line, something the Bulldogs weren’t able to do during 7-on-7 session.
“I really think that that’s going to be a big part of our identity, as long as those guys up front continue to do their job and understand their footwork,” Serpas said. “Great strides were made in the spring, and we’re trying to carry that over into the fall. Just getting those guys back here on a regular basis and being able to work with them and see that improvement day in and day out, that’s what we’re looking forward to.”
Per Louisiana High School Athletic Association rules, schools practice in helmets during the opening week of camp.
“We’re going to start from scratch because we pick up new people during the summer, so you can’t start on Day 11 after spring because those kids are fresh and new to everything,” Serpas said. “So you try to cram what you did all in spring in that four or five-day period that you’re not allowed to put pads on, and then if you can get all of that in, you progress into the pads.”
Serpas said the second week of camp, when full pads come into play Aug. 12, could be a proving ground for some players.
“Football’s still a physical game, and you’ve got to be able to take a pounding and give a pounding,” Serpas said. “It’s easy to look pretty and do good whenever nobody’s hitting you and it’s just two-hand touch and all that. But now that the pads are on, everything changes. People have their head more on a swivel and you can tell who really is prepared and ready and who is kind of staying toward the back of the crowd to make sure that they don’t get too involved.”
In the final two weeks of camp, the Bulldogs will practice in preparation to host a scrimmage with Central Private on Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. and will face Independence at 6 p.m. Aug. 30 in the first game of the Albany Jamboree.
“I think the scrimmage … you’re not necessarily looking at the opponent at that point,” Serpas said. “You’re still working on your base stuff and trying to get your stuff cleaned up.
“Going into that jamboree, now you actually have some film to watch on an opponent,” Serpas continued. “It gives me as the head coach (a chance) to evaluate my coaching staff and see what they’re doing, see what they’re seeing going into the game-planning of things as well. That’s where things kind of ratchet up.”
Serpas said the Bulldogs are ready to get rolling with the season.
“This is some of the best summer (workout) numbers that I’ve had in probably the last five years,” Serpas said. “The work that they’ve put in I really think is going to show on the field, and I’m eager to allow them to get out there and prove to everybody that they’re ready to accept the challenge.”