Destrehan preparing to have ‘different identity’ in 2008

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Sports Editor

Even though it’s only a Saturday afternoon in early August, the Destrehan football field looked beyond ready for some game day action.

Freshly painted and with brand new turf laid down from sideline to sideline, endzone to endzone, it appears a canvas worthy of playing host to a champion.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” said Stephen Robicheaux, the proud coach of the Wildcats.

After a magical 2007, where the Wildcats put together arguably the greatest season in school history by becoming the undefeated class 5A state champions, few could blame the coach or his players for being proud.

But it’s a new year, and a new team. And just as the paint settled on the field, Robicheaux and his staff are trying to paint a picture of their own – exactly what will the 2008 edition of Destrehan look like on that field?

“We’ll have a different identity,” said Robicheaux. “We lost over 30 seniors from that team last year.

“But the guys who sat behind them feel like it’s their turn now. They waited their turn, and are ready to do what needs to be done to accomplish their goals.”

As fall camp began last week, the Wildcats have been practicing twice a day in order to prepare for the season. On Monday, Destrehan began practicing in shells. And on Thursday, the pads can go on and the real action will begin.

So far, Robicheaux says, practices have been spirited.

“All of these kids might not have started for us a year ago, when we went 15-0, but they’ve been around a winning program,” he says. “They’ve seen what we have to do to be successful first hand.

“No, this team hasn’t won a game yet. But they know what goes into winning.”

After losing so many seniors, leadership has to sprout up somewhere. One place it’s come from has been new starting quarterback Wynrick Smothers, Robicheaux points out. Wide receiver Brandon Armstrong, a starter a year ago, is another.

And players along both the offensive and defensive lines have made an effort to step into the leadership void.

That such would come from the offensive line shouldn’t surprise anybody. Four of the team’s five starters from 2007 return. And as Robicheaux has reiterated throughout the offseason, that line will be the “straw that stirs the drink” as Destrehan evolves from a quick strike passing offense to one emphasizing ball-control and pounding the football.

“This is going to be a different type of team. But it’s one I’m pretty excited to coach,” Robicheaux says.