By T. Scott Boatright
Lincoln Preparatory School football coach Glen Hall said his team is ready to prove what they’ve learned over the past week heading into the Panthers second game of the season, which will kick off at 7 p.m. today at Panthers Stadium.
That Panthers fell 14-8 in last week’s season- and home-opener to Madison, a closer result that some might have expected with the lackluster intensity and numerous penalties and mental miscues Lincoln Prep committed.
Hall said this week of practice has been totally different than last week’s as the Panthers prepare for Homecoming.
“Man, we’ve had a great week of practice,” Hall said. “We’ve had everybody show up this week to practice. And they’ve practiced hard and enthusiastic.This team knows now they can win. They know they should have won last week.
“The thing is, this has been such a good week. We’ve had 10 new players come out wanting to play. So the fever is catching. So we’re just like COVID. We’re catching all over the school. Everybody is fired up about this football team right now. It’s a whole new attitude. We’ve put last week behind us and moved on. Now we’re just worried about Plain Dealing and moving on from there.”
Plain Dealing also stands at 0-1 after falling 58-0 at Delhi Charter. The Tigers went win-less last season and have now fallen in 15 straight defenses.
Hall said he’s stressed to his Panthers that they can’t overlook the Tigers but instead need to come out focused and prepared to take care of business.
“Plain Dealing doesn’t have a lot of people, but their first 11 plays hard,” Hall said. “They play hard every plan. We just have to realize — to decide — that we have to execute if we want to win the game.
“What they try to do is sustain the clock, control the ball and get first downs,” Hall said. “They run a lot — a lot of dives and counters. I expect them to go a lot out of the Wing-T, so if we can contain that Wing-T, we can stop them.”
As a former assistant coach under Eddie G. Robinson at Grambling State, Hall is no stranger to the Wing-T. The late Robinson is still remembered as being one of the top Wing-T offensive minds of all time.
“Playing and coaching under him no doubt helps me know and understand what the offense will be trying to do,” Hall said of what he learned about the Wing-T from Coach Rob. “I’m a Wing-T baby.
“We’ll do a lot of double A-gap blitzing and contain the dive. It’s about making sure your defense stays in its lanes. Anytime you can contain the dive, you can handle that Wing option. It’s pretty easy. It still goes back to we just have to execute. I really think we have a pretty decent team. We just have to remember that we have to execute every play. We can’t take even one play off, because that could be the play that costs us.”
Hall said he hopes he can get his offense to open strong to help establish a play-action passing attack the Panthers never got into enough of a rhythm to find last week.
“It’s all about that execution,” Hall said. “Our quarterback, Jordan Hall, struggled to get going last week because we weren’t executing in our blocking. We weren’t doing the little things we needed to do to move the ball.
“But he’s had a different feel this week and I think he’s ready to get things done this week. I think the whole team has a different, more confident feel this week. They know they didn’t play well last week and still were in position to win on the last play of the game. That’s something they want to build on. They just feel like they have the right mindset this week.
Hall said there’s a difference that might be a key factor in making this happen this week— he feels the team is healthier than it’s been since the opening week of preseason workouts in early August.
“This week we have everybody healthy,” Hall said. “We’re working hard at full speed and making everything happen. It feels like a different team this week, and that’s good to know. The team feels confident going in. I feel confident going in.
“We’re ready to kick this game off and make it happen.”