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Menard brings structure, new offense to Trojans

Central Lafourche head coach Keith Menard leads the Trojans through a spring football practice last week in Mathews. (Photo by Addie Gibbons/Correspondent)

MATHEWS — It was another spring practice with another new head coach for Central Lafourche's varsity football team.

For the fourth consecutive spring, the Trojans have a new head coach as first-year coach Keith Menard, who was hired in January, continued the process of laying the foundation of his program over the 10 practice sessions.

Menard is actually the fifth head football coach in the past four years at Central Lafourche, after he replaced interim coach Scott Duplantis, who replaced former coach John Callahan after Callahan resigned six games into the 2012 season. Prior to Callahan, Travis Douglas held the position for one season after former coach Chad Callais resigned after the 2010 season.

With such a coaching carousel, Menard said when he arrived, it was important to instill structure and discipline in the program immediately, and the players have adjusted to his demands.

"It is kind of funny. I told the seniors-to-be, that I'm your fifth coach in four years. I said every one of you has been fed a line on something to buy. Every coach has come in here trying to sell you something. I will tell you right now, this is what I'm selling and I've been successful doing things a certain way. I think with my coming in humble, but with a plan, the kids have accepted that and so has the coaching staff," Menard said. "Personally, I think kids want structure and organization, and they want to know what the expectations are. The first day I got here, we set what our expectations were and how we would work. Let's face it, kids want to win. I think what we got in place sets us up to at least being able to compete and win some games in the fall just by how we work and the discipline that they have accepted in moving forward."

With a new coach comes new schemes to learn and that is nothing new for the Trojans. Trojans quarterback Luke Falgout said while it was another spring of learning, there is a raised level of excitement with the experience Menard brings to the program.

Falgout has since suffered a major knee injury in a scrimmage against Patterson and his status for next season is in question.

Menard begins his 28th year in coaching and has compiled a 135-125 overall record as a head coach.

"(The coaching situation) definitely got old, but since this was (the seniors) last year, we wanted to make it count. Even though we had to learn something new again, we just want to make the best of it," Falgout said. "I definitely like coach. It has helped with what he has brought in and everything has been good so far. I think (our spring) was successful, and we put in a lot in a short time. Everybody is getting a better understanding of what to do and that helps our confidence. We have a new energy because with a new coach comes new opportunity for everyone, and we want to keep building momentum going into the summer."

One change Menard did bring to the program is a new offense. The Trojans are in the process of learning a multiple pro style offense that Menard won eight games with last season at Catholic High of New Iberia.

Menard said he knew the Trojans ran a triple-option offense in the past, and his offense is looked at as a positive change. But he said an offense will only work with execution no matter the scheme.

"We've been able to implement a lot so far, and I'm pleased with our quarterbacks and our receivers learning the routes," Menard said. "The whole thing is there is a level of excitement because we have a plan and a whole new direction that we are going in. Look at my offense. What I bring here is different from what they ran here the last seven years and all of that is great. You still have to win games and that is what we are going to try to do, win games. Hopefully, what we brought here, offensively, has brought a level of excitement to the kids, but it is still about winning."

The learning isn't restricted to the offense. The Trojans defense is getting a better understanding of its new 3-3-5 stack scheme.

Trojans nose guard Garland Sylvester said it is always a tough adjustment with a new coach but could tell immediately spring practice was going to be a different experience.

"Just with how he ran practice has been different. Putting people in different positions on both the offense and defense and finding the best people to play those spots," Sylvester said. "It's been tough, and we always had a new coach coming in, but I hope he sticks. He seems to be a good coach. We went hard for two weeks. We put in a new offense and defense and everyone is catching on."

The Trojans wrapped up spring last week with a scrimmage against Patterson.

Now that spring is complete, Menard will continue his evaluation during his summer program. Menard said he is going to ask a lot from his players over the summer, and if they do what he asked, then the Trojans can have a successful season.

"The kids were given a calendar the first month I was here, and what we expect this summer, and it will be a change for them. We will go three days a week starting at 6 a.m. for varsity and 8 a.m. for our incoming freshmen and on Wednesdays we will practice in the afternoon. Really, it is to get them into weight lifting and our speed and agility drills. We are asking them to commit eight to 10 hours a week to football and let's see where it goes from there," Menard said. "I'm looking for guys who are willing to compete. I want to see who wants to be out there and try to earn a spot and have passion for football. That is what we need our guys to have and that's what we hope to see."

Coming Thursday: H.L. Bourgeois