After taking Southern Lab to the Superdome, the first team for Port Allen's head coach went 4-7 with 18 seniors. This season only 10 seniors are coming back after losing 12 starters.
"You know with the seniors we have this year, we have less than we had last year, but we have more leadership with the seniors we have to lead us," said senior linebacker Tim Frazier.
The defense is missing seven starters, but head coach Nick Mitchell said he plans to use starters who can effectively play both sides of the ball to help middle linebacker Clyde Robertson and the crew replace two down linemen and all four in the secondary.
In 2015, the Pelicans' four wins last year came against teams with losing records, but Mitchell said he's much more comfortable entering year two at Port Allen.
The Pelicans' performance in their spring game against H.L. Bourgeois could be used as a measuring stick as far as what improvement can be expected in Mitchell's second year.
Quarterback Jarius Robertson could see significant time in the defensive backfield along with guys like Jonte Smith and wide receiver Sean Garner, who is also a go-to guy on offense along with senior running back Ken Broussard.
Jarius Robertson used to be a defensive back and projects as one in college, but his speed and quickness bring an extra dimension as quarterback.
"I brought [Robertson] in my office and said 'Look this is kind of the way we do things on offense,'" Mitchell recalled. "'Our quarterback is better suited to run the ball and I'm not really too concerned whether or not you can throw it 50 yards downfield, but we run the zone read. And because of your feet and your quickness I think that's going to be your best asset and we'd like to put you there.' And he said 'Coach, whatever you want me to do, I'll do it.'"
"I knew I had a big role on the team and I just had to step up and make plays and do what the team needed to help win," said Jarius Robertson. "And that's what I did, and eventually I began to like it."
The Pelicans offense is missing four senior offensive linemen who graduated last year and it showed in the spring game as the Braves took advantage of it and forced Jarius Robertson to do some scrambling.
"You don't find many guys who can run that 4-5 in different directions," Mitchell said. "Some can run it in one direction, but he's been gifted with some really quick feet. He can do it in all four directions and that's going to be a great asset for him."
Countering the Braves' attempts, Jarius Robertson showed how his confidence has grown with a year under his belt at a position that requires him to be a more vocal leader on the field in addition to his play-making role.
"I lead more by example than by words. I'll show you before I tell you," Jarius Robertson said.
The offense also showed some big play ability at several spots.
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