Comets ‘hit classroom’, learn system at Nicholls to begin fall camp

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Sports Editor

St. Charles Catholic took its show on the road as fall camp opened last week, landing at Nicholls State just as it has done in each of the previous two seasons.

And while it was important for Coach Frank Monica and his staff to see the players hit the field in their week long visit, it was just as important to see the Comets indoors – in the classroom.

“We teach the whole system while we’re there. Then we break it down when we return,” said Monica. “We put things on overheads, watch film, and work on our mental installation.

“The physical part of it comes in later. But we’re teaching these kids football concepts. We’ve got a lot of new faces here.”

As is the case for all teams in their first week of fall camp, conditioning was another major focus. But flurries of rain throughout the week interrupted the Comets scheduling.

“We were sluggish until we got our routine ironed out,” Monica said. “ We wasted a couple practices due to the rain. Some of our kids are accustomed to (the camp routine), but we have a bunch that are starting from scratch.”

St. Charles returned home late last week, ready for the next phase of camp. Monday was the first official day that teams were permitted to practice in shells, and tomorrow, full pads can go on.

The Comets have a lot of questions to answer, particularly in the backfield. The graduation of running Jonathan Cancienne, a versatile threat who gained 2,200 all-purpose yards last season, leaves a major void in the rushing, receiving, and return games.

Ditto for quarterback Vincent Rollo, who graduated after a highly productive senior season himself.

Monica says he realizes that the offensive production may have to be replaced by committee, as opposed to any one or two players.

“Sometimes, you succeed players. You don’t replace them,” Monica said.

But once full pads come on, it is perhaps the defense that will be under the brightest coaching microscope. One of the things the coaches discussed as they sat down at Nicholls last week was the play of the Comet defense a year ago.

Specifically, they want to see more consistency from a unit that played exceedingly well at times – the team finished the season with a five game stretch where it allowed no more than 13 points in any game, before bowing out to Lutcher —  but disappointed at others (allowing 38, 57, 30 and 55 points in losses to Higgins, St. Amant, and Lutcher twice).

“We have to play better defense this year on a week to week basis,” Monica said.