Bastrop High Preseason Football Report
Bastrop High's first practice session in pads was interrupted by a Monday afternoon thunderstorm, but the Rams eventually got their work in.
Forced indoors by lightning, the team broke into groups for meetings, and the defense went through a weight lifting workout.
Upon returning uphill to the practice field, the Rams went through a series of position drills and an 11-on-11 scrimmage.
Bastrop's defense, which took the brunt of the heat for last year's 3-8 campaign, showed some promising signs, coming up with three turnovers on the first four plays. End Kintavious Cash returned a fumble for a touchdown and Ch'kilas Calhoun picked off a swing pass.
While it was encouraging to see the defense make some plays, it was disappointing to see a veteran offense turning the ball over.
Turnover margin is an area in which the Rams will need vast improvement.
“We have to flip the turnovers in our favor,” Bastrop coach Thomas Bachman said. “We want to create them on defense and not give it away. Turnovers are game-changers; they have a huge impact on the outcome of a game.”
When Bastrop's offense turned the ball over last season, the opposition usually capitalized. Bachman is looking for role reversal this time around.
“If you create three turnovers and don't do anything with them, what have you accomplished? It's all about what you do with a turnover after you create it,” Bachman said. “On the other side, if you give it away, can you go out there and withstand it?”
Quarterback Christian Doaty was sharp during pass scale, consistently connecting with Isaiah Graham and Al Dowles Jr.
All in all, both the offense and defense had their moments.
“A lot of our receivers are returning and have worked really hard,” Bachman said. “I thought we continued to throw and catch offensively, but 11-on-11 changes everything.
“It was back-and-forth all practice long which is something I want to see continue.”
In an effort to upgrade the front four, the Rams have moved one of their best players to the defensive side of the ball. A two-year starter on the offensive line, center Rodney Jackson is now playing defensive tackle and occasionally end.
“It's all about what makes us a better football team,” Bachman said.
Jackson could — and likely will — be called upon as a situational offensive lineman.
“There are certain situations where you want certain personnel on the field,” Bachman said.
Bachman would not rule out the possibility of additional personnel moves.
“That is something we will continue to examine throughout practices, the scrimmage and the jamboree,” Bachman said. “Everything is gearing up toward Sept. 5.”
Bastrop will scrimmage at Alexandria Senior High next Friday (Aug. 22) and play in the Ouachita Jamboree (Aug. 29) prior to hosting Huntington in the regular season opener.
Typical of a first day in pads, Bachman saw some pluses and some minuses.
“I saw some good things, but there is still tremendous room for growth,” Bachman said. “A lot of kids are playing with a lot of effort. Everybody has varying degrees of ability, but anybody can play with effort. If we continue to trend that way, we will give ourselves a chance to be competitive every week.”