Elliott Wilkins’ expression never changed, even when he was asked to repeat what the primary goal is for his team.
“To get a first down,” the Broadmoor High football coach reiterated.
There was no punch-line drum roll. There was the rotation of the Buccaneers offense in the background going from play to play looking to establish a rhythm during a Tuesday practice.
Two things were obvious as Broadmoor went through one of its final two practices before school starts Thursday.
The first is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Wilkins shared head coaching duties with long-time coach Rusty Price last season. In his first solo season as head coach, things won’t look different.
Price is the offensive coordinator and again will help orchestrate the veer offense the Bucs are known for. Other longtime assistants, Carl DiJohn, Larry Bland and Paul Greer, are still there. So is Broadmoor baseball coach Mike Woods, who, like Wilkins, is an ex-BHS player.
But the potential for change is the second thing that is there. Broadmoor moves from District 4-5A to 5-5A after finishing 3-7 a year ago.
“The pressure hasn’t changed,” Wilkins said. “Working with Rusty. … He puts pressure on everybody. Our roles are the same as last year, only the title is different.
“This year we’ve got a lot of younger kids who are sophomores. We’re still looking for those guys to learn plays on offense and on defense. That’s where it starts.”
Another factor that hasn’t changed drastically is the size of Broadmoor’s squad. A total of 33 players were dressed out in helmets and shorts, including 20 upperclassmen Tuesday.
Wilkins said the Bucs finished the spring with 40 players. Players with jobs and other obligations are expected to join practice Thursday. Jobs and vacations made it tough for some to make summer workouts.
Broadmoor must replace key performers, including McNeese walk-on Broderick Delihue, who ran for 1,360 yards and averaged 7.6 yards per carry last season.
Remember that first down Wilkins talked about? He’d like to see plenty of those from a revamped backfield. Fullback/linebacker Henry Williams ran for 225 yards last season. Jaelin Jackson is now the tailback. Tyler Woods, a Belaire transfer, is the new quarterback.
“We competed in seven-on-seven with Catholic High, U-High and Live Oak and didn’t do bad, but that’s not real football,” Wilkins said. “People talk a lot about the districts and say this one (5-5A) is tougher. Zachary made the semifinals last year. Scotlandville, a team we trailed 13-7 in the fourth quarter, was in the quarterfinals. With Catholic, McKinley and the Ascension schools, it’s similar.”
Williams likes the Bucs’ chemistry so far.
“We’ve got to keep pushing ourselves to get better,” Williams said. “Attitude is a big difference this year. We’ve got faith in each other. Since we don’t have a lot of numbers we have to help each other.”
Woods has adapted to the veer after running the spread at Belaire.
“It’s taken pretty much the whole summer to learn it,” Woods said. “The thing I like here is that everybody has high expectations, and they’re not afraid to get on each other.”
Jamil Abdul Aziz, a 270-pound two-way lineman, said this Broadmoor team won’t use roster size as an crutch. Yes, he sees that potential for first downs.
“You’ve got to come out, suck it up, listen to the coaches and give 100 percent,” Abdul Aziz said. “It takes that on every play.”