After losing to the eventual state champions Neville in the second round of the playoffs, Breaux Bridge is poised for another strong season under coach Paul Broussard.
Well, if Broussard can replace some key starters from last year’s successful team.
Broussard said while the Tigers lost players, the players stepping in are talented and gained some valuable experience during last season, easing his concern over their roles this season.
“We lost some guys, but we’ve got some good players coming back as well,” Broussard said. “We have to move some guys around, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.”
The defense is where the most real moving and shaking will take place, with Korey Louis – LSU linebacker Lamar Louis’ brother – sliding into the middle linebacker position and the need to replace star free safety Joseph Williams.
Broussard said Louis is a tremendous athlete, capable of playing either position and wasn’t worried about the transition.
At 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds Louis ran the second leg of the 4×400-meter relay for Breaux Bridge at the state track meet, with the Tigers finishing in third.
Broussard said replacing Orel Ledet, a three-year starter, wouldn’t be easy but was encouraged by the play of Kirkland Joseph who received spot playing time last season, but will be a full-fledged starter this year.
“We don’t really have one guy who has stood out, but (Joseph) is one who has stepped up and played well in his new role,” Broussard said. “He’s a good athlete and he’ll be an important player for us this season.”
One of Broussard’s concerns for his defense is the Tigers lack of size upfront on the defensive line.
The Tigers lost both starting defense tackles from last season’s squad, the 265-pound Brandon Alexander and the 270-pound Keithan Cormier, and are bringing only Daryon Wiltz back from last year’s starting foursome.
Broussard said while some teams who run a ground-and-pound offense might be able to punish them for their lack of size, he thought the defense’s overall team speed was a little higher than last season.
And with more and more teams spreading out their formations and going away from old-school style football, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“There are some teams who still really pound the ball that might be able to hurt us,” Broussard said. “But there’s a lot less of them now with all the spread formations, so hopefully it won’t be too big of an issue.
“Make it eight or 10 years ago, though, and that’s a different story.”
Broussard said he was disappointed the play in his other group of trench warriors, the offensive line, through the spring, but through summer and by fall they would be ready to play at the level he expected going into the offseason.
Both Kenneth Davis and Cody Broussard return from last season’s team to anchor the group.
“They didn’t play as well as I would’ve liked in the spring game, to be honest,” Broussard said. “But we’ll be ready when the season rolls around, they will be a good unit.”
Through the summer the Tigers have worked on the timing of their passing game after dealing with the rain through the spring slowed down their development.
Broussard said while the Tigers lost both starting receivers in Javin Derousselle and Javeyan Williams, he expected the offense to bounce back well with a returning starter at the quarterback position and a group of talented receivers.
“I’m pleased with the progress they made through the spring practices and into summer. We have some good guys,” Broussard said. “Our quarterback just has to realize that we’ve got some good athletes out there and he has to get the ball out to them and let them be athletes.”