Former Glen Oaks and Southern great Eric Randall is back in the coaching ranks as the first-year head man at Baker. He is trying to bring the once-proud traditional power back to prominence.
Randall said he might start the season with 10 seniors at the most, but points to Nick Morgan and Cameron Heil as two examples of guys he's building a new foundation with. He said both players will have to play both ways as will others of his eight starters back on both offense and defense.
He has brought in Southern Lab transfer Derrick Gibbs, whose dad is on staff and who's developing as a leader at quarterback. The junior is competing with Terry Johnson for the starter role and got a bit of baptism in the spring game against his old team.
Randall said he wanted the Buffaloes, who return eight starters on both offense and defense from a team that was just 3-and-7 and lost its last five, to be tested by a state champion like his brother's team.
Along with a talent at receiver in Brian Williams, Randall thinks the Buffaloes will go more to the passing game than the 80/20 mix of mostly runs in the past under Richard Oliver.
"With the great quarterbacks that we have in Terry and Derrick, our team will be better in the aerial game. Brian Williams, one of the better wide receivers in the state, to me is a top prospect. He will open the field up for all of us," Morgan said.
"I'm in the backfield, a receiver at the slot, on the outside, at tight end, sometimes at right tackle if they need me there," Heil said.
However, Randall said changing the mentality is the real key to success.
"Changing the mentality. You know 'Coach do I really have to come to practice EVERY day? Is it that important that I can in and output?' It is," Randall said. "When you look at the kids that are in Baker, the athletes compared to other schools, we have the athletes at Baker. It's just a matter of putting our arms around them.
"Like you hear about LSU. 'Let's keep our kids in the state of Louisiana and put a fence up around it.' And we're working on that. And it's going to take winning with what we have first, to show we're serious about the program. Anybody who's watching, we work out Monday through Thursday. You live in that Baker area, come on out!"
"We had to change our mentality. We had to come together as a team. Be brothers, trust each other. Our work ethic changed," Heils said.
"I love how he's really getting us seniors to become better leaders," Morgan said. "Individual accolades don't really matter to me. The whole thing was that I want my team to be great. Everybody to be great around me."
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