Monica looking for 7v7 improvement

Published 12:02 am Saturday, July 4, 2015

LAPLACE — As St. Charles Catholic head football coach Frank Monica exited the field following 7-on-7 league play Wednesday, it was hard for him not to shake his head in disappointment.

The Comets had just finished up a tough 30-minute game, their third of the day, in which they were routinely burned by East Ascension’s wide receivers for multiple touchdowns, some without an SCC defender in sight.

“For us, it was personally one of our worst performances of the year. I wasn’t happy with the way we executed on offense, I wasn’t happy with the way we played on defense. We turned too many people completely loose on defense,” Monica said.

While the Comets had been improving in weeks prior, Monica said they still have a lot of work to do in the coming weeks.

“I thought last week we made some progression. This week I think we took two steps backwards and I thought we were moving forward until this week — from the quarterback play to the receivers to the defensive backs,” Monica said.

Hosting 7-on-7 league play is an annual event for St. Charles Catholic (SCC) that will help the team’s skill positions — quarterback, running back and wide receiver, on offense, and the secondary and linebackers, on defense —get prepared for the coming season.

Included with SCC in the league are Jesuit, John Ehret, McDonogh 35, De La Salle, Thomas Jefferson, Newman, Ponchatoula, Higgins, East Ascension, Loranger and St. Amant. Of those opponents, Jesuit won the Division I championship last year and East Ascension, Loranger and Ponchatoula made it to the regional round of the playoffs.

“It’s a real competitive league. There are some good football teams – some of the best teams in the state are here. You get a lot of work on offense and defense,” he said.

While going up against such stiff competition can result in poor play in the short term, such as was Monica’s assessment for this week, in the long-term SCC is hopeful the extra reps their skill players get now will pay off later in the year.

“It is something we think is a good thing. You have 3.8 seconds to throw the ball, so it makes our quarterbacks throw the ball on time and it makes our receivers run short, precise routes — they can’t get by with sloppy routes. And it makes our defensive backs play real good coverage, which is something they are not used to doing. You don’t have the alignment to hide behind. So now they’ve got to play coverage.”

While Monica was disappointed with this week’s results, he did say there were a few players whose games appears to be on the upswing. In particular, senior wide receiver Dane Authement has broken out over the past few weeks.

“(Dane) is really having a good summer, he’s been a really good guy, quick footed, good hands and is showing a lot of promise there,” Monica said.

Despite the tough day, Monica said he is confident the Comets will be able to overcome the early summer jitters on offense and defense and be the better for it when the season approaches.

“We are going to correct (the problems),” Monica said. “The season is right upon us. You can’t tell everything by 7-on-7. It doesn’t tell the whole story, but you can certainly get a lot of good information from it.”

The Comets have some time to bounce back with two more weeks of play before the season ends.

“Defensively I think we have some work to do. We are expecting that to be our strong suit and right now it isn’t,” Monica said.