By T. Scott Boatright
The Lincoln Preparatory School Panthers continued football workouts Tuesday, taking advantage of slightly cooler weather to push up practice tempo up a little.
And Panthers coach Glen Hall liked what he saw after pushing his Panthers a little harder than previous workouts.
“I do think there’s been a lot of improvement going on since the start of real practices,” Hall said. “The players are young, but they’re listening, and we’re getting a lot of reps put in. We were blessed with a cooler day today and we got a lot of good, hard work in, and that’s the best thing we could have gotten.”
The Panthers did have to call an audible to their practice schedule due to Mother Nature and the Louisiana High School Athletics Association (LHSAA).
“We were going to be involved in a four-team scrimmage, and the LHSAA ruled that we couldn’t do that – hold a four-team scrimmage, especially in this heat,” Hall said. “And that was fine. They’re cracking down on the heat and trying to do a lot of safe things for the kids.
“So now we’re going to hold an intrasquad scrimmage on Thursday before the heat really first starts cranking back up,” Hall said. “It’s still going to be hot, but not as hot as expected for Friday when it’s supposed to be over 100 degrees again. We’re good with the change. We just want to have the opportunity to line up and play an intrasquad scrimmage this week and get ready for next weeks’ jamboree.”
That jamboree will be played at Glenbrook on Aug. 25 with Ringgold and Montgomery slated to join the Panthers and Apaches.
Hall took advantage of the slightly diminished temperatures to get in a little more work for his players on running and conditioning.
“We did most of our running early today,” Hall said. “Then I let them work on special teams because sometimes with special teams, they don’t realize how much running they’re getting out of it.
“But that little bit of extra running really helps us a lot. You can see how much it’s helped from last week to this week.”
Hall said the Panthers have three players sharing punting chores as they try to shake out a depth chart but that the punting and kicking chores seem to be rounding into shape.
“The good thing is that we’ve got “D-Bo’ – Damarian Robinson, who did some punting for us last year and I expect he’ll be the guy doing most of our kicking this season.”
Offensively, Jordan Brown and Michael Lewis are getting a majority of snaps at quarterback with Shavell Robinson also getting some time behind center.
Hall said the key to figuring out Lincoln Prep’s starting quarterback will involve the mental part of the game as much as the physical.
“They just have to learn to take some time and stop trying to rush to do things,” Hall said. “If we can get them to slow it down just a little and learn to read the keys that we give them. If they can learn to look and take whatever the defense is giving us, and then run the ball and set up something like a third-and-one where we can move the chains and score the ball, then it’s anybody’s ballgame.
“It’s just the thing of getting them to slow it down, take a deep breath and think about the play. See what’s happening out there in front of them, both before and after the snap. But they are learning and making progress, and that’s all we can ask of them at this point.”
Hall also expressed appreciation for the way sophomore Jaylin Huntley continues working hard as the Panthers’ primary running back with junior D’Tavion Wright leading the way at fullback.
“Huntley was amazing out there today,” Hall said. “I know I ran him a lot, and I tease and ride him, but I also know how good he is, how much he has in him and what he can mean to this team if he buckles down and just keeps working hard.
“But I have to keep pushing him, especially in the sprints at the end, to make sure he’s ready to play a whole game when that time comes. But all the kids are working hard. I just need them to keep doing that and buying into the system. We have more players out than we’ve had around here in the past. But we have to keep working. We have to keep pushing through the heat and keep on doing what it takes to become a better football team.”