Iota closes spring with Maroon and Gold game
IOTA – It hasn’t quite been a month yet that Neal Lege has been back as head football coach of the Iota Bulldogs, but you couldn’t tell.
Changes are already visible everywhere.
Lege, who returned to Iota following a six-year stint at Acadiana, has implemented new schemes on both sides of the football and fans got just a glimpse of what they can expect in August when his Bulldogs played their Maroon and Gold scrimmage Friday to close out spring training.
“I was pleased with the effort and the things that I saw technique wise today,” said Lege, who has gone with the split back veer and the I this year on offense. “You know, running a new offense, we had some mistakes on which way we were going and stuff like that, but everything we saw was correctable.
“I was pleased with that. Even though they blew the play up, they were still going full speed and that’s what we want.”
Even with the miscues, Lege was still upbeat about what he saw out of his first team offense that scored once on their 15-play series.
“I was mainly pleased with our execution on offense,” said Lege. “We made some mistakes, but I thought our backs ran the ball well. They hit the holes like we’re teaching them.”
Iota’s first-team defense made the biggest impression, limiting the scout team to minimal yardage while allowing just one first down.
“I liked what I saw out of our defense today,” said Lege. “We started (spring) out we were very timid. There was a lot of arm grabbing and uncertainty about what to do. But in two weeks, we really picked the tempo and the aggressiveness up and really started flying to the ball.”
Lege, who was Acadiana’s defensive coordinator for the last two seasons, has the Bulldogs running a 4-2-5, which is nothing new to Iota. However, he is also mixing in a 4-3 defense.
“The 4-3 is new for these guys,” said Lege. “I think we have a real good group of linebackers and we have about six of them. That’s what we’re going to run in the fall. We put it in for a couple days and it really took off.”
Lege said that the key to Iota’s spring, despite the changes, was his players doing everything at a rapid pace.
“We worked every day and we tried to structure our practices as much as we possibly could on a learning grade going full speed,” said Lege. “I didn’t want them going out there half speed. We learned it going full speed and I think that helped us out a lot. Once we got our timing and tempo down, it took off. This past week, we had a real good week.”
Learning at full speed and a fast pace is going to be key for the Bulldogs, who only have nine upperclassmen returning. Lege will have just four seniors and five juniors on the squad when they begin August camp. The other 37 members of the team are all freshman and sophomores.
That’s a drastic change from what Lege was accustomed to at Acadiana.
“You’re talking about leaving a program with 130 kids in it and coming over here and we have 46,” said Lege. “And of the 46, your looking at 30-something freshmen and sophomores. We usually have larger junior and senior classes over here, but we just don’t have that right now.”
Young or not, the Bulldogs have gotten through phase one of their preparations for next football season.
Now it’s on to phase two - the weight room.
“Now it’s on to summer conditioning,” said Lege. “This is the time of the year where you want to build your strength that’s going to carry you through to the fall.
“It’s a shame to say, but I’m ready for the summer to fly by so we can get started again.”