Notre Dame, Iota scrimmages set for Thursday

CROWLEY – Notre Dame’s Pioneers and Iota’s Bulldogs will get to see just how much progress they have made since fall practice began when the two squads take part in prep football scrimmages Thursday in Lafayette and Kaplan.

Notre Dame will be in Lafayette for a practice/scrimmage at St. Thomas More while Iota will travel to Kaplan to participate in a three-way scrimmage with the host Pirates and the Eunice Bobcats. Both scrimmages are scheduled to begin at 5 o’clock.

“The first two weeks (of practice) have been good,” said Notre Dame coach Lewis Cook. “It’s been different for us because of the heat. Once the practices with pads started, more so this year than any other year I can remember, we’re splitting time within the practice itself of doing some things in pads and taking them off for some drills.

“But, hopefully, we’re making progress. I know other teams are doing the same thing so, hopefully, we’re at least on the same pace that everybody else is. But I’m anxious to get to the scrimmage and see where we are.”

Cook and his squad are also anxious to go up against someone other than themselves.

“It’s not the fun part of practice when day after day you’re working against your own teammates,” said Cook. “You see the same thing day after day because they are preparing their defenses and we’re preparing our offenses. We may go through a bunch of games and never see anything similar to what we see at practice right now.

“It’s always much nicer when you gameplan and know specifically what you’re going against. We’re getting closer to that point with the scrimmage and the jamboree coming up, where you can get into a game week. That’s always fun because that means that the camp part of your practices are over.”

The annual event basically begins as a practice as the two squads split up into groups and work on different phases of the game before finally capping things off with each team getting 15 plays in a scrimmage-like scenario.

“We like going over there because they feel the same way we do about wanting to do a practice phase of the scrimmage and then get into some game situations,” said Cook. “So it works out good. And they are usually bigger and ahead of us a little bit talent wise, so it is a good test for us to find out how far along we are or how far we haven’t gotten.”

For Iota and first-year coach Neal Lege, the first two weeks of practice have been slow but eventful.

“Practice has been okay,” said Lege. “We’ve been kind of staying vanilla on offense and defense. We’re just now starting to put stuff in on defense. We were more concerned with technique and alignment more than anything else and going full speed. Same thing on offense, changing it up a little bit and terminology. It’s been at a snail’s pace but it’s getting there.

“But I’m very pleased with their effort. When we first started off, we were kind of dying at the end and now they’re starting to finish up.”

Iota’s scrimmage will be a chance for Lege to see if what he has been implementing is sinking in to his youthful team that consists of just 12 upperclassmen - four seniors and eight juniors.

“What we’re looking for is timing and execution on offense, of course,” said Lege. “Defensively, we’re looking at reading keys, flowing to the ball and finishing tackles...like I said, just finishing the play, being good finishers.”

Iota will start the three-way on defense against Kaplan. The Bulldogs will sit out a series and then run the following two on offense, 15-plays against Eunice and then another 15 against Kaplan.

Iota will take another break while Kaplan’s offense goes up against Eunice’s defense and then the Bulldog defense will wrap up the scrimmage with a series against Eunice.

“We’re going against two wing-t teams in Eunice and Kaplan,” said Lege. “They’ve been doing that for a long time so we’ll get a good look at ourselves defensively on how we stack up.

“We’re still looking at people; they are still auditioning. We’ve got a bunch of young kids and we’re just trying to move them around and find the right spots for them that will make us a better football team.”

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