Bastrop High Preseason Practice Report

Bastrop held its first official practice under new head coach Adrian Burnette with a two-hour workout Tuesday afternoon.

Burnette, who was promoted from offensive coordinator, liked what he saw from the defense.

"I was impressed with the defense today," Burnette said. "Defensively, we played faster today. We were more aggressive. We swarmed to the ball, which is what we are going to have to do."

Two players in particular caught Burnette's eye Tuesday.

"(Safety) Charles Mullens had a spectacular day, and (defensive lineman) Quan Rhodes had a good day," Burnette said.

Since assuming the head coaching duties in February, Burnette has focused more on the defensive side. With quarterback Quaterrius Hawkins returning for his junior season, along with running back Desi Holmes and receivers Christian Smith and Sir'Quan Hawkins the Rams have a solid nucleus of playmakers.

Bastrop (5-5, 2-3 District 2-4A) averaged 32.8 points per game with a young, inexperienced offense last season.

Defensively, however, the Rams continued to struggle, yielding 29.4 points per outing. The better offensive teams — Parkway, Neville and Livonia — bullied the Rams for 49, 48 and 50 points.

Bastrop has been in more than its share of shootouts in recent years, more often than not, coming out on the losing end. Burnette isn't asking for miracles, but he is looking for better results. For starters, he would like to see the defense cause more turnovers.

"As long as we are able to get some stops, we can score some points," Burnette said.

After entering last season with only three returning full-time starters, the Rams are much further along than at this time a year ago. However, there have been numerous position changes since the Rams' 50-41 first-round playoff loss to Livonia.

"We have some experience, but we have a lot of people who are in their first year at certain positions," said Burnette, who moved four offensive starters to the defensive side.

Typical of a first day, Burnette saw some cases of rust.

"We had a couple of jitters," Burnette said. "I think some of them are still trying to feel me out as head coach."

With the position changes, the offense has some kinks to work out.

"Offensively, it's just a matter of getting back on the same page and clicking," Burnette said.

For the freshmen, Tuesday marked the first practice of their varsity careers. Burnette is counting on having several freshmen contributing on Friday nights."

"We have some freshmen who are going to have to come in and play," Burnette said, "but it's going to be all right."

FULL GEAR: As per LHSAA rules, Tuesday's workout was limited to shorts and helmets. The Rams will hold their first all-out practice Friday at 7 p.m. Fans are encouraged to attend.