Out with the old and in with the new?
That wasn’t what Denham Springs football coach Dru Nettles was thinking about when he changed the team’s offense. Nettles wanted to speed things up and with speed comes change.
“It is a different thing than what most people expect out of Denham Springs,” Nettles said. “But change is ultimately going to take place in all areas of life and in different things, and this was the time and place for us at Denham Springs and our football program.”
The Yellow Jackets have run the same power offense since the days when Nettles wore a purple and gold jersey in the 1980s. Nettles is bucking tradition in favor of the no-huddle, hurry-up spread attack many teams use. The new offense will be on display when the Yellow Jackets host Woodlawn on Friday night.
Nettles said the decision comes after evaluating player personnel and the want for a more invigorated offense. Nettles forfeited his longtime duties as offensive coordinator and play caller, handing the reigns to former Redemptorist coach Aaron Vice, who most recently was a graduate assistant at LSU.
Vice said spring football was a difficult transition, especially considering he didn’t know his players’ names yet, but the team is slowly picking up the new system.
“I think that we have gotten better each week, but we haven’t become anything special,” Vice said.
“We’re very average right now. But if we keep improving upon the track that we are on, we have the chance to be pretty good.”
Vice said the biggest issue has been breaking the team of the habit to huddle up between ever play. The tempo is faster, and the team has to pick things up on the fly.
Vice promised the transition wouldn’t change the foundation of the Denham Springs offense as much as it will change the way it looks. The Yellow Jackets still expect to be a run-heavy offense, but hope to do so at a quicker pace.
Simply put, Vice described the new look as, the same offense dressed up a little different.
Vice didn’t want to say how much he expects to run the ball this season, but 18 of Denham Spring’s 28 plays in last week’s jamboree against East Feliciana were runs. Nettles was adamant about his commitment to the running game.
“It’s all things we’ve done before; it’s just at a different pace,” Nettles said.
“It is new, it has some new terminology and I guess the biggest change is that I’m not calling the plays, but I don’t think it’s as big of a deal as maybe it’s made out to be anywhere else.”
Vice said The Yellow Jackets will be a little bigger than most spread teams in the area, and he plans to use fullbacks and tight ends on a regular basis as well. But one of the most important aspects of the offense will be the depth the team has at running back.
After studying under LSU coach Les Miles for the past two seasons, Vice said he is a firm believer in the running back-by-committee philosophy the Tigers are known for and fully intends to adopt the same mentality at Denham Springs.
“I’m a huge, huge believer in (running back by committee),” Vice said. “ I think competition brings out the best in everybody.”
Gators at The Pit
St. Amant High confirmed its nondistrict game with top-ranked Class 4A Warren Easton will be played Friday night at its home stadium, The Pit, located at St. Amant Middle School.
SAHS coach David Oliver sent an email to media outlets confirming the game site Tuesday.
The stadium’s new natural grass turf wasn’t ready a week ago, forcing 5A St. Amant to move its LeBlanc’s Jamboree to Dutchtown High.
Eagles at Plaquemine High
After hosting its home games at Plaquemine’s CoPac stadium for a couple of seasons, St. John is returning to Plaquemine High’s Andrew Canova Stadium for its home games this season.
The Class 1A Eagles host 3A Brusly on Thursday night at the PHS stadium.