Stephens pleased with Wildcat’s work at SLU camp

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 17, 1998

JUSTIN HARRIS / L’Observateur / August 17, 1998

HAMMOND – Enthusiasm.

That is what East St. John head football coach Ronnie Stephens wanted toimpress on his troops during their five-day camp at Southeast-ern Louisiana University this past week.

“We’re a young team, so we need to play with all the enthusiasm we can,” Stephens admitted. “When the ball is snapped we need to give iteverything we got. The key is going to be our enthusiasm, and I think wehave coached that to our team this week.”Another benefit of the five-day sabbatical at SLU is putting Stephens’ system in place. Stephens and his staff have used this week to teach theplayers all of their offensive and defensive plays as well as special teams.

“This camp gives us a good jump on the other teams,” Stephens said.

“After Friday everything will be in place. Whatever we don’t learn, wewill leave behind.”Stephens said he thinks his team is further along than they were this time last year. He is pleased with all the elements of his team but especiallythe progression of the defense and kicking game.

Stephens mentioned senior defensive lineman Greg Gathers and senior linebacker Samson Monica as standouts.

“I really enjoy camp,” Monica said. “You see I am a foreman. If I was home,I would be picking okra. So, I would rather be doing this.””Yeah,” Stephens chuckled, “This is like a vacation for him.”But this is not just a time for sweating, running and hitting. It is also atime for bonding.

“This camp brings us all together,” Gathers explained. “We live with eachother and are around each other all day. It helps us to step up and to workhard for the season.”The focus on football and togetherness is what wide receiver Roydell Williams enjoys most about the camp.

“Camp makes us more like a family,” Williams said. “You can’t do anythingbut think about football here and be with the other guys. That’s what I likeabout camp.”East St. John wrapped up the camp at SLU Friday and is prepared toimprove on last season’s 10-2 record.

The Wildcats will play in the River Parishes Jamboree at Hahnville August 28. The Wildcats’ first game is September 4 at Lutcher. East St. John’shome opener is against McDonogh 35 September 11.

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