LaFayette’s first week of fall practice

Published 1:18 pm Thursday, August 10, 2023

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LaFayette’s bulldogs are in the middle of their first week of fall practice. The coaching staff is hoping to make some strides this week as they prepare for their matchup against Loachapoka on Aug. 26. 

Head Coach Juan Williams has been putting his team to work all summer. Williams has already talked about the team’s improvements in the weight room this summer. 

Now, Williams is getting the chance to see the team’s endurance during their first week of fall practice. 

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“How can we handle the heat,” Williams said. “That’s going to be the biggest thing. Just like in the game with stuff on the line, might not be as hot, but there’s going to be some fire out there with them.” 

The Bulldogs will have their first full pads practice on Friday. The team has not been in full pads since their spring game. Williams is hoping to see his team show some physicality. 

“Just fitting up man,” Williams said. “We want to see who wants to play because it’s a game of hitting. If you’re scared to hit, you’re in the wrong business.”

Physicality is an important part of football practice, but coaches also have to make sure their players are being smart and keeping themselves healthy. 

“We keep everybody up,” Williams said. “We try to not put everybody on the ground, that’s for Friday nights. Trying to just form tackle. Get each other better to a point. We ain’t trying to cheap shot nobody. We’re all on the same team.” 

During Wednesday’s practice, LaFayette got the chance to practice their form tackling. With the team finally getting to wear shoulder pads, the players got the chance to be more physical than they have all summer. 

Physicality is one aspect of the game that Williams wants to see his team be better at than they have been in the past. 

“We want to be more aggressive,” Williams said. “We’ve been passive in the years [past].

Hopefully they’ve got a little more aggressive because of being in the weight room. We’re a little stronger, so [we’re] trying to put it together.”  

The coaching staff has already begun watching film on Loachapoka, and they have been studying the mistakes that the team made last season. 

LaFayette is expected to have a good group of seniors this season. Those seniors have shown their leadership in practice and throughout the summer. 

“They’re doing what they’re asked to do right now, but it’s a continuous thing,” Williams said. “You can’t do it one day and not do it the next. We got to get past that. We got to want to do it everyday.” 

One of the biggest challenges for coaches at this point in the process is making sure players do not take practices off. Williams believes that making the game and practices fun for the players will make them want to be there. 

With the Bulldogs being a 2A team, they do not have a ton of depth at each position. Injuries can completely derail a team’s season in one of the lower classifications.
“You try to keep injuries on the low as much as you can,” Williams said. “You can’t stop injuries. All we’re going to do is pray about it, see if we can keep everybody healthy and get ready for this game.” 

The Bulldogs have a few players suffer injuries during the summer, but Williams said that the players should be back by the fourth or fifth week of the regular season.