Griffins have big shoes to fill in ‘09

Peter Silas Pasqua

GEISMAR - Dutchtown head coach Benny Saia knows he has big shoes to fill. That happens when you loss 10 starters on offense, seven on defense and 3,000 combined yards from two running backs.

“We aren’t going to miss those 3,000 yards a bit,” Saia joked. “We are like the Cowboys. We reload. We don’t rebuild.”

Dutchtown loses Alabama signee Eddie Lacy and Texas Southern signee Kelvin York in the backfield but do return all-district performer Effrem Reed.

“That was once in a lifetime to have those guys,” Saia said. “We are changing a little bit of what we do. We feel good about Effrem being a quality back but we are going to have to be a little more diverse because we have one instead of two and he is not 225 pounds.”

Saia said the Griffins will also change some of their offensive schemes this season as they welcome in Leon Blouin at quarterback. Thaddeus Godfrey and Troy Lewis will also play running back.

“We will have to be smart,” Saia said. “We won’t be in the I and pounding people. That is not going to be our personality next year. We might throw it 50 times a game. I don’t think we are without players. They are just different kind of players and they are young and much smaller that who left. We are still going to be physical but we will have to stretch the field and try to create some seams.”

Saia will enter his eighth season at the helm of the Dutchtown program after losing 25 seniors a year ago on a team that finished 8-3 and advanced to the Class 5A regionals. Next season’s team will only see 14 seniors.

“Only four or five of them play,” Saia said. “It is going to be a real young football team. Unless something drastically changes, we won’t have a senior on offense. On the depth chart, there is not a senior practicing right now. We are very small.”

The Griffins do return LSU commitment Eric Reid in the secondary along with Marcus Godfrey, Jonathan Darville and Brandon Lucas.

“The secondary is back but we lose all the linebackers and most of the line,” Saia said.

Dutchtown got a late start on spring practice with Wednesday’s being just the second of the season. A situational scrimmage is scheduled for May 16 in the morning to conclude spring training.

“We got about 80 kids,” Saia said. “I will take some more if they can play. We usually add one or two guys over the summer.”