SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Denham Springs Yellowjackets

SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Denham Springs Yellowjackets
Denham Springs Football (Source: Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV)

DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (WAFB) - One of the biggest jolts of the offseason was Live Oak coach Brett Beard leaving the Eagles for Livingston Parish rival Denham Springs.

SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Denham Springs Yellowjackets - Part 1
SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Denham Springs Yellowjackets - Part 2

When Beard goes back to Live Oak this season, it should be interesting. After fighting for his Eagles for five years and gaining the respect of rivals like the Yellowjackets on the field with a physical brand of football, he’s pulled the shocker of the post-season by agreeing to become their coach.

“At first, I was skeptical about it, because I didn’t know what was going to happen,” said senior linebacker Omari Warren.

“I was ... I was surprised but I was also very excited to get a new start,” added senior quarterback John McDaniel. “I just knew that he produced a great team at Live Oak and they always competed with us very well.”

“They seemed very disciplined, altogether,” explained senior nose guard Chris Smith. “I thought that’s what we needed last year. We didn’t have it.”

“At first, I was a little bit surprised but I have friends out in Live Oak and they used to tell me how great of a coach Coach Beard was, so I was fine with it,” noted senior wide receiver Preston Holwager. “I think it’s going to work out perfectly.”

It’s funny that Holwager would say “work out,” because that is the biggest change so far.

“Last year, when we worked out, we didn’t sweat every time we worked out. We didn’t have to put out so much effort. This year, every time we do something, you’re coming out sweating, drenched, tired. You come out here, you’re going to run until you can’t feel your legs no more. We workin',” Warren pointed out.

“It was tough, because I think it was tougher on my wife,” said Beard. “There were some things that were said about me that, 10 minutes before, those people are loving me and want their kid to play for me and then, all of a sudden, I go to the rival school - (They said) ‘It was time for a change,' They ‘wanted something new, I’m glad he’s gone.‘”

“When he first came in, he gave us some drills to do and they took out the weaklings and (we’re) left with the strong,” Warren added.

“I think we lost about 20 ... 15-to-20 kids in the first two to three weeks. Didn’t show up to practice, didn’t care, didn’t want it. Got to go. Can’t have that on this football team,” Smith explained.

“It’s good, because we don’t need anybody to hold us back anymore,” Warren noted.

“He’s a great coach; he’s going to push us to be our best and whatever happens, he’s going to be there to support us and make us the best player and the best young men we can be,” McDaniel emphasized.

After flirting with the quarterfinals the year before, Denham Springs dropped off to 1-9 in 2019 and many of the games weren’t even close.

Week 4 was close but the way the Jackets blew a big lead with three Assumption bombs in the fading moments of the fourth quarter sent Denham’s defense tumbling to rock bottom as poor tackling, players out of position, and questionable effort eventually sent the whole team spiraling downward. Now, Beard’s job is to build them back up from the ground floor.

McDaniel has waited his turn behind Luke Lunsford and figures to be one of Beard’s best leaders on the road back to respectability. Wide receiver Troy Golmond figures to be McDaniel’s number one target, although some young backs and slot receivers could take some attention off the senior.

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