Tigers look for young players to step forward in ‘08
Published 12:00 am Friday, August 15, 2008
By RYAN ARENA
Things can get heated in a hurry when a coveted possession is thrown up for grabs – like, say, a starting position on the 2008 Hahnville Tigers football squad.
You can only imagine the intensity around Tiger practices these days.
Last season, Hahnville entered the season with eight senior starters on defense and nine on offense. With age and experience came a highly competitive, balanced squad. But it also means that 17 starters must be replaced – meaning more than just a select few have been vying to catch the eye of Coach Lou Valdin and his coaching staff.
A few have done just that as the second week of camp comes to a close.
“We’re seeing some of these young kids starting to separate from the pack,” says Valdin. “Guys are beginning to earn positions.
“I think we’ve had a really great training camp.”
He sees a lot of talent with this team, talent that has waited patiently the opportunity to play. The longtime coach knows he’ll have a hungry group that steps on the field each and every Friday night.
But Valdin also knows that with inexperience will come mistakes. Minimizing those potential mistakes, Valdin says, has been the focus of he and his staff over the last two weeks.
“We’re concentrating on helping these kids develop good fundamentals and habits,” he says. “When you’ve got so many inexperienced players, they’re going to go back to what is habit when they’re on the field. You develop those in practice.”
One competition that will impact Hahnville in a big way this season is at quarterback, where senior Guiseppe Crovetto and sophomore Brian Ensminger are each vying to start the season opener on Sept. 5 against McDonogh 35.
If the season started today, Crovetto would get the nod, according to Valdin. But nothing is etched in stone.
“Both guys are going to see actions against Higgins (a scrimmage) and in the jamboree,” Valdin says.
Thursday was the first day teams were allowed to go all out in pads during practice, as per the LHSAA. Hahnville didn’t have a spring game due to weather conditions, something that has also set the team back during camp recently.
That means that the next 10 days will be crucial – the scrimmage against Higgins in almost two weeks will be the first real action the Tigers have seen since the end of last season.
(See TIGERS, Page 8A)
“The Higgins scrimmage is huge,” Valdin says. “We’ve just got to see action against someone else.”
This week began on a sour note for the Tigers, when news broke that the team would have to forfeit seven victories from 2007 after then-senior running back Greg Julien was ruled ineligible (see story below).
Valdin admits the situation is disappointing and unfortunate. But he also says the news hasn’t been a distraction to the players on the field in camp.
“We’ve got so many young players excited to get their chance,” he says. “They’re not worried about what happened last year. They feel like it’s their turn and their team now.
“Everyone’s come in with such a great attitude, and we’ve had a great summer. I’m just really looking forward to seeing what these guys can do on the field.”