Braves look for improvement in Powell's second year
Mon. May 14, 2012 at 11:10 a.m. | By Kelly McElroy/Staff Writer
H.L. Bourgeois running back Markice Bogan (center) looks for running room during Tuesday's spring football practice in Gray. (Photo by Michael Conti/Staff)
--First in a 13-part series
It was only the third day of a 10-day spring football session for the H.L. Bourgeois Braves, and offensive lineman Kyle Barrios already noticed a major difference in the team.
"We have been working hard, a lot harder than last year," said Barrios, who will be a senior in the fall. "There are a lot less guys clowning."
In Ben Powell's first season with the Braves, the team was 2-8, posting nondistrict wins over J.S. Clark and Ellender to start the season before dropping eight games in row to end it.
Now Powell, who took over the program in January 2011, said he has more of a comfort level within the program.
"The biggest thing for us in year two is that we have a better handle on our kids, what they can do, what they can't do," Powell said. "We came in last spring not knowing some of their abilities or even what positions they were going to play. Now they are veterans for us. We have gone through an offseason, and we had a great offseason. We have a whole lot better handle on things. It has made planning for spring a whole lot easier."
Barrios, who will be one of the senior leaders, said things have been much smoother this spring.
"Coach (Powell) is here in his second year, so he has that experience, and we have a lot more experienced guys," Barrios said. "I think it's going to be good. I think it's going to be a lot better than last year."
Chris Harris, who will be a junior next season, is expected to be the team's starting quarterback.
"We got off to good start," Harris said of spring. "Things were a little slow at first, but we are going to gradually work our way up and get there. It's all about hard work. As long as I see guys working hard, I am happy. We just want to have fun and win games."
Powell said the team's biggest assets right now are an experienced offensive line that goes nearly 300 pounds across the board and a secondary that got lots of playing time as young starters last season. He also said there is lots to do in the short spring period.
"In spring, we will install our whole offense and most of our defense and work on fundamentals," Powell said. "We will get our young kids some reps, and the younger kids will get to work themselves into some positions. The biggest thing for us is getting our offense installed and working on fundamentals."
Powell said picking up the tempo on offense also will be a focal point heading into summer workouts.
"The biggest thing for us is tempo. We are nowhere near the tempo we want to be," Powell said. "Our goal is to be the fastest team in football. We want to snap the football when that official steps off the line. We want 24 seconds to be on the play clock when we snap the football. We need to get more consistent with our tempo offensively. Defensively, it's about fundamentals — getting guys in the right place and tackling."
The Braves are also expected to have a full coaching staff this season, something that has not been in place in recent years.
"We were shorthanded last year with our staff, but we have added some high-quality people," Powell said. "We will have a full staff, so we are real happy about that. The more quality people you have, the better football team you will have."
Coming Tuesday: South Terrebonne