To most football coaches, spring football remains an important part of a team’s development.
Some years, though, it’s far more important for one side of the ball than the other.
That was the case for the Teurlings Catholic Rebels in the spring season that wrapped up last week.
With only three offensive starters returning, much of the teaching in the spring was focused on offense.
“We’ve got a lot of good players back on defense,” said Teurlings coach Dane Charpentier, whose defense shined in a spring game against Southside. “We’ve got a lot of work to do on offense.”
The top priority there is on the offensive line.
“That’s really the whole deal,” Charpentier said. “You can’t do anything until that is taken care of.”
The offensive front returns two starters, but only right tackle J.P. Aguillard was healthy enough to participate in the spring. Senior left guard Joel Lanclos, though, is expected back in the fall.
“We’re definitely looking for some answers there,” Charpentier said. “Some kids made a lot more progress than others during the spring.”
Then there’s the matter of a first-year starter at quarterback in sophomore Preston Welch. At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, Welch is a pro-style quarterback with the athletic ability to throw on the run, but he will be learning along with many first-year offensive starters.
“He showed the ability to make some big plays out of the pocket in the spring,” Charpentier said. “He’s got a good arm. He’s obviously still got a lot to learn, but he’s a football junkie, so he understands the game pretty well. It’s just about the speed of the game.”
Also adding to Welch’s challenge will be a load of newcomers at running back and wide receiver.
The Rebels will be without their top three rushers from a year ago, including quarterback Kaden Boulet, but Charpentier was encouraged by the options he saw in the spring.
One is a “physical downhill runner” in senior Tanner Brinkman, but it’s also possible Teurlings will borrow some of the defense’s talent to boost the rushing attack. Conner Kleinpeter and Ethan Auzenne are among those options.
“We might have to do somethings we haven’t done,” Charpentier said. “You got some get some first downs. That’s the way I feel anyway.”
Senior Ryan Richard is the only seasoned receiver back. Senior tight end Matthew Marceaux also got some experience in the passing game last season. Junior newcomer Kentrelle Prejean showed signs of being a playmaker in the spring.
The defense is expected to be anchored by senior linemen Will Judice and Eli Brunet with Kleinpeter moving from safety to linebacker and Thomas Buller also at linebacker.
“It might be the most speed we’ve ever had at inside linebacker,” Charpentier said.
The Rebels raised some eyebrows by building a second-half lead on he road against De La Salle in the Division II quarterfinals last season, before falling 28-17. De La Salle took a top-notch St. Thomas More team to the wire in the state championship game in December.
“I thought we really start playing some good defense at the end of the year last year,” Charpentier said. “We’re hoping to carry some of that continuity into this season.”