What Brad Bradshaw calls, “the Bastrop way,” is many things. In an attempt to describe it, unapologetically rigid would be a fair starting point.
Above all, it’s tough.
The Bastrop football coach is demanding of his most promising players like the community surrounding them – “Bastrop’s a star-driven town. They like a football star; they’re also very hard on them.” – yet in a different way. Bradshaw wants to see his college-bound players be more than just future All-Americans.
The latest example is Travez Moore, a defensive end ranked as the No. 27 prospect in the state according to Rivals with scholarship offers from premier programs including TCU, Tennessee, LSU, Florida, Arizona State and South Carolina joining the bunch in the last week. Moore’s talent is beyond question; everything off-the-field that enables his talent to be displayed is the new focus.
“I do not want to be part of the system that is using that young man,” Bradshaw said. “I want the young man to get his academics in order No. 1 and learn to be a good football player No. 2, do the right things on- and off-the-field. And until everybody gets on the same page with that, that will not happen.”
While recruits nationwide are scouring their film trying to address the weaknesses college coaches see in them, Moore’s primary focus is in the classroom in an attempt to make college football a reality.
“I’ve been putting in hours, staying up all night working on my weaknesses in the classroom like math,” Moore said. “I’ve been really working hard.”
Bradshaw added, “Did he do a good job in summer school? Yes, he did. We made an improvement there.”
Bradshaw continues to enforce the no-nonsense “Bastrop way,” on Moore, despite outside influences that make the process more difficult than it already is.
“Are there other schools that tell him he doesn’t have to do it this way? Yes,” Bradshaw said. “There are other high schools that are telling him he doesn’t have to do it this way and there are certain colleges that are telling him he doesn’t have to do it this way.
“He may not like me for what I’m trying to do, but if he ever wants to step out there at LSU or some place like that, he must do these things, no question.”
Moore says he is following the plan that’s outlined for him given what’s at stake — Bradshaw noted the threat of junior college.
“I’m 1,000 percent dedicated because I understand how important this is. This is my future,” Moore said. “I can’t just look out for myself, I have family I want to look out for. This school, this is what’s going to count for me to better myself in life and my family.”
Bradshaw added, “We’ve had several make it going (the junior college) way. It’s a hard road. Does he want to be in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, or does he want to be in a small town in Mississippi? That’s his choice. I’m trying to avoid that choice.
“When it comes down to it, he’s going to have to do certain things on the field and certain things in the classroom.”
While it wasn’t on the forefront of the plan for Moore’s summer, his on-field development got some work, too. Moore’s pass-rushing ability is beyond question, and now his coaches want him to be a better run stopper.
“Does he have the athletic ability to rush the passer pretty well? Yes, he does. The rest of it he has to learn,” Bradshaw said. “But they do pay people pretty well to rush the passer. He sees that and wants better in life, but still, they’re offering you this and you’re here. What are you willing to do to go get it?”
Moore hopes he’s proving his willingness to work.
“I believe I can get better and change that. I’ve been working on the run blocks and I’m going to get it,” he said. “I’ve gotten a lot better and reading the offensive line, I’ve been working a lot in the film room on what I need to do on this run and what I need to do on that run.”
With the on- and off-field improvements set out for Moore, the so-called Bastrop way is, as Bradshaw puts it, Moore’s best option. As tough as it is to enforce, Bradshaw admits Moore has made progress along that way that he hasn’t recognized.
“He also needs people to praise him when he does things right, which he doesn’t get from me much,” Bradshaw said. “That’s something that I hope that I’m better at with all of them, but with him, I haven’t praised him enough for doing the right things.”
Connect with Brett Hudson on Twitter, @BHudsonTNS.