Spring Football Notes
Taking their first steps toward putting an atrocious 3-8 season in the rear view mirror, the Bastrop Rams open spring football practice Monday afternoon.
Under Louisiana High School Athletic Association rules, teams are allowed 10 practices between Monday and the end of school. Rather than concluding the spring session with a game, Bastrop will play Ouachita in a mid-spring scrimmage on Monday, May 12. Game time is tentatively scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Ram Stadium.
SPRING OBJECTIVES: Bastrop's defensive woes from 2013 have been well-documented as the Rams allowed 41.5 points per game and surrendered 40-plus points on six occasions.
Former head coach Brad Bradshaw was hired recently as defensive coordinator in an effort to turn the unit around.
Bradshaw will be working with nearly an entirely new crew as the Rams graduated nine starters.
Lineman Kintavious Cash, cornerbacks Jiquez Green and John Robinson and safetyNiger Madison are among the few holdovers who saw significant action last season.
While fixing the defense is an obvious priority, the Rams have some issues to address on the offensive side as well.
Despite allowing 35.6 points per game, taking care of the ball was a problem, particularly in the latter part of the season.
“The key is consistency,”head coach Thomas Bachman said. “We turned the football over too much; I'm talking about turnovers that led to scores. We want to continue to be explosive, but we want to be consistently explosive. Three and out, three and out, three and out, big play is not what we're after.”
Wide receiver Jamari Payne, the team's top playmaker last season, leaves a huge void on offense. Also lost to graduation were wide receiver Lewis Brooks, guards David Palmer and Horzonta Foster and co-starting running backs Antwone Green and Kevin Heard.
Christian Doaty returns at quarterback, along with wide receivers Isaiah Graham and Devin Brown, center Rodney Jackson and tackles Payton Hollis and Devin Barfield.
Jerry Powell and Travion Burks are ready to step in at running back after getting substantial reps last fall. Powell is also the backup quarterback.
Bachman says one of the objectives of spring camp is establishing an identity on both sides of the ball.
“We want the kids to come away (from spring practice) confident in who we are and what we do as far as base offense and base defense,” Bachman said.
SCHEDULE CHANGE: Bastrop was scheduled to play Calvary Baptist in the Week 2 Battle of the Border at Shreveport's Independence Stadium. In an effort to maintain family harmony, the Rams will play at home vs. Clarksdale (Miss.) in Week 2, while Calvary picked up Midland (Texas) Christian.
Both Bachman and his father, Calvary coach John Bachman Sr., were opposed to the matchup from the outset. Another Bachman, John Jr., is the Crusaders' assistant head coach.
“It was a personal thing. There is a competitive side of it,” Thomas Bachman said of the prospect of coaching against his father and brother. “I didn't want to be in an argument at Christmas dinner about something that happened in the game.”
Bastrop will open preseason play with a pair of road contests, traveling to Alexandria Senior High for a scrimmage and visiting Ouachita in jamboree action.
Under the revised schedule, the Rams begin the regular season with three straight home games against Huntington, Clarksdale and Pearl (Miss.).
Rounding out pre-district play, the Rams travel to Bossier City Parkway, entertain Rayville and visit Union Parish.
The district slate includes a Week 7 home tilt vs. Franklin Parish, followed by away games vs. Neville and Wossman and a Week 10 home date vs. West Ouachita.