First-year Bastrop head coach Adrian Burnette is looking for improved play on defense and special teams.
Despite his offensive background, first-year Bastrop head coach Adrian Burnette has placed more emphasis on defense and special teams during preseason camp.
Bastrop should, once again, be strong offensively. What Burnette wants to avoid is the high-scoring shootouts in which the Rams' offensive efforts are wasted because of their defensive deficiencies. Such games have occurred frequently in recent years.
It's entirely too early to proclaim that the defensive issues are resolved, but the unit did take a step in the right direction when the Rams held their first scrimmage Friday night.
"The offense had some highlights and the defense had some highlights," Burnette said. "I didn't want it to be one-sided, and it wasn't."
Overall, it was a typical first scrimmage with mixed results.
"I thought we played fast on both sides of the ball," Burnette said. "It wasn't always right, but I didn't expect it to be perfect. What I am looking for is are we playing fast, and are we playing hard. I thought we accomplished the competitive aspect of it. Now we need to be more consistent offensively and defensively."
Two groups that stood out in Burnette's eyes were the offensive line and the secondary.
Starters Noray Robinson, James Carter, Carter Ellison, Chancelor Johnson and Zion Lawton, along with backup Maleek Mays made a positive impression Friday night.
"Hats off to our offensive linemen — I thought they played well as a whole," Burnette said.
Phillip Jackson, C.J. Mullens, Zedarrion Ridgell, Jaiden Davis and A.J. Fenceroy shined defensively.
"Our secondary played very well today," Burnette said.
As for the Rams' special teams play, decent would be an upgrade.
"One thing I am focusing on is I want us to be better at the third phase," Burnette said.
Throughout the first week, Burnette would halt practice to work on a specific area of the kicking game. It's a practice he plans to continue.
"We are going to implement something with special teams every day," Burnette said.
Hector Cabrerra, a 2008 Bastrop graduate, a kicker for the Rams' 2005, 2006, 2007 state championship teams, has been brought in to work with the kickers.
Special teams were included in Friday night's practice. As Burnette suspected, the Rams still have a long way to go in all areas of the kicking game.
"We did OK during the week, but it was a different atmosphere tonight," Burnette said.
The scrimmage drew a sizable crowd.
"I appreciate everyone who came out and supported us tonight," Burnette said. "Everyone seems excited, and I hope it shifts on in to the regular season."
UPCOMING: Bastrop will open preseason play in a Saturday, August 19 scrimmage at Wossman.
The August 25 Bastrop Jamboree will now be a double header. Delhi and Richwood will meet in the early game, with Delhi Charter and Bastrop squaring off in the nightcap. Game times have yet to be finalized.