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Callahan wants Trojans to stay positive


First-year Central Lafourche coach John Callahan addresses his players during last week's spring football practice. (Photo by Abby Tabor/Staff)


--Ninth in a 13-part series.

MATHEWS — The most important piece of equipment used by the Central Lafourche Trojans during spring practice was the piece of tape on the players' helmets.

The tape sprawled across the helmets displayed each players' name, and for first-year coach John Callahan, it was an essential part of spring practice.

Callahan, who is a Connecticut-native and was coaching in Vermont, was hired to replace former coach Travis Douglas two weeks prior to spring practice. Douglas stepped down after taking over as the schools' new athletic director.

After completing spring practice on Friday, Callahan said the team has progressed and so has his memory when it comes to names.

"We made some progress. Everything is new, and what I am trying to do is figure out the best direction to go with the team. I do have an idea of what I want to do," Callahan said. "Just learning people, learning names for gosh sakes, is important. I am slowly learning the players, but I have only been here for a couple weeks."

After working with the Trojans the past two weeks, Callahan said he is impressed with his players' physical attributes, but it is the mental part that has him concerned. It is not so much knowing plays or scheme, but how his players will handle adversity that is sure to come during the 2012 season.

"We have some good athletes and good speed. I just think it is how well they pick things up and how we execute," Callahan said. "I am not so worried about their physical characteristics. It will be more if they are mentally ready to play with confidence. That was some of the things the (assistant) coaches were concerned about. We don't want them to get discouraged when they get behind and stay with their work ethic."

Trojans offensive lineman Brodi Hill said with a new coach, there was a feel of freshness during the practices.

"Things have been great. We did miss a few days with rain, but we got back out there with our new coach," Hill said. "Everything is fresh with the new coach and everyone had a clean slate. We took him in really well. He put down what he expected from us right away. We just went out and worked hard every day."

Central Lafourche defensive back J.P. Williams said he sees a different attitude even though Callahan has worked with the team for just two weeks.

"It went great and we got after it. We had some young guys doing well and some older guys leading," Williams said. "Coach has been great. He is learning names and he just had two weeks, so it is hard to know everyone in two weeks. He has come in with a new offense, more of a fast-paced offense, and that has made us more pumped. Everything has been great and we should be alright."

Callahan is returning to Vermont for a month to continue the process of moving to Mathews.

Callahan said over the summer, the Trojans will continue to work on technique and scheme, but he also wants to instill confidence in his players, which he deems important.

"More than not in these situations, it is more about fixing attitudes," Callahan said. "One of the issues here is to get the kids to stay positive and not get discouraged quickly. That is one of the things we want to do, stay positive and play with confidence. I think that will be a big theme for us as we go along. In a couple of years, it will be better, but we have to start somewhere. I believe that success isn't physically, but more mentally."

Coming Wednesday: Houma Christian