The Woodlawn Panthers started 1-3 against a tough non-district schedule last season before the team got hot down the stretch of last season, winning five of their next six games and reaching the playoffs. However, the Panthers lost to Carencro 38-20 in the opening round of the 4A playoffs.
There will be a new quarterback at the controls this year, as junior Brian Byrd has been moved to behind center. Byrd has been a wide receiver in the past, but head coach Daniel Luquet said Byrd is replacing the departed Jamari Nelson.
Byrd starting to make plays and get comfortable at his new position during the Panthers' spring game against Scotlandville and some recent 7-on-7 work.
Luquet said he wants Byrd to just play within the offense and that the dynamic of that offense will be much different when talented senior running back Javin Myers is there to hand the football to.
"The biggest thing for him is playing within the offense. I'm not really worried about 7-on-7 and how he looks out here because there's a different dynamic when you can put the ball in Javin Myer's belly and pull it out or have a run game," Luquet said. "I just need to make sure he understands concepts, within the offense and just takes what they give him. I thought he did a good job, missed some throws. But that's things that when we get to August and we have every day, we can fix. I'm really excited about what he's doing."
Luquet said the Panthers have many new faces on the offensive line blocking up front for Byrd and that the wide receivers have much to learn before the first game of the season.
"We bring back our two safeties, Xavier Lodge and Johnathan Scott. Bring back a corner Trevon Hardnett. Bring back three defensive lineman Aaron White, Kendrell Shaw, Kyron Mims. We fill in some other spots with some seasoned guys, guys that got a little experience," Luquet said.
However, Woodlawn plans on leaning on its strong defense and Byrd will continue to improve as the summer wears on.
"We're going to really lean heavily on that defense. We've got some really, really good players over there. Good leaders on the team, that have been in the trenches, been in the war and know what to expect," Luquet said. "I just hope they can feed a little energy, a little bit of excitement into our offense, because they're going to come ready to play every Friday."
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