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With new prospects Panthers start with the basics
The Liberty County Panthers get ready to break from a group pep talk and huddle before the start of practice. Spring training started on Monday for the Panthers and around 75 potential players have come out for the squad. - photo by By Patty Leon / Coastal Courier
Roughly 75 young men suited up in jerseys. Helmets had pieces of tape on the back with the players’ last names. Receivers were running patterns and the coach’s whistle started or ended the play. It’s spring training Panther football style.
“We have 75 right now and we have 10-12 still in track and a few in baseball,” Panther defensive coordinator Thomas Desbiens said. “By next week we are probably looking at 90, which is good. We haven’t had numbers like that until the last season or so.”
As eighth graders approach ninth, Desbiens said the next two weeks would be all about the fundamentals.
He is also searching for new leaders in the pack, especially as it relates to the Panther defense. The Panthers lost Byron Calahan, who signed a scholarship to play football at Bethel, Dmitri Lane, DeAngelo Quarterman and Kendrick Jones from the defense.
“Four really good defensive players, Desbiens said. “So we need to find some of the new players who have the ability to step up and play, but also become leaders.”
The defensive coach said now things are taught at a slower pace to get everyone acclimated to the system.
“Teach them the basics of defense the first week,” he said. “Then get into defenses fronts ands blitzes in week two.”
Desbiens said the younger or less experienced players will need to understand that after their brief spring practice, they only have about two weeks off before they come back and hit the weights.
“Once we get to our first official summer practice we will hit the weights for an hour and then come out and condition and run offense and defensive plays,” he said. “These guy know its football from here out to Aug. 22.”
The Panthers hope by the time they start weight training they will be in a new renovated weight room. Desbiens said weight training is just as integral to the game of football as running plays.
“If we are not strong physically we are not going to match up pretty well on Friday nights,” he said. “The mental part will come but you need strength to back that up.”
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