by Courtney Maciasz
September 25, 2009 – Ouachita High School’s head coach John Carr sees the 2009 season as one of growth for his Lions, but knows the future is bright with a talented group of players and coaching staff.LFM: Tell me a little bit about your team this season.
JC: Number one, we are very young and inexperienced. Last year, we graduated 35 seniors. We had a Division I tailback, a Division I receiver, and a Division I kicker. When I first got here that group was in the eighth grade. It was the kind of group that worked extremely hard, and this year, we have a small senior class and a lot of guys starting for the first time. Even the seniors we have didn’t get to play a whole lot last year. We’ve got one returning offensive starter and offensive tackle. We’re starting right now a sophomore quarterback who is having to learn what we’re trying to do, and also, the speed of the game is a little different than he’s been accustomed to. On the other side of the football, we are returning two All District linebackers that we feel good about, but we are very young up front. Our secondary guys are the same way- they are upperclassmen, but just didn’t play a lot last year. It’s a fun group to coach. They are fun guys, but from an experience stand point, we’re going to go through some growing pains just because they are not used to playing on Friday nights the level of guys we have on our schedule.
LFM: Who is on your coaching staff?
JC: Our offensive coordinator and offensive line coach is Larry Foster. He played here at Ouachita High School. He does an outstanding job with our offensive line. We just hired Andy Robinson. He was a quarterback at Louisiana Tech. He was at Kilgore High School in Texas the last couple years, so he’s come back. He coaches our quarterbacks. Alan Chance is our strength and conditioning coach. He’s been here for about nine or ten years. He is a graduate of ULM, and played baseball at ULM. He does a great job with our strength. Then, there’s Brad Morace, our defensive coordinator. He’s kind of a staple in North Louisiana. He’s been a head coach before and a Ouachita graduate as well. Josh Jenkins coaches our secondary, and he played at ULM and a Ouachita graduate. That’s the core of our guys that help us on Fridays.
LFM: How do you think your team will do compared to last season?
JC: We won 10 ballgames last year and got beat in the quarterfinals by West Monroe. So, we feel good about where we were last year. There’s a point where we had West Monroe beat in week three, and we lost there in the end. Overall, this group here, we just have a lot of guys who haven’t been in the fire yet. Our district is tough. Our non-district schedule is Neville, Ruston, and Rayville. Those are three quality opponents right there, and Neville is the best they’ve been in a long time, and now, they’ve got 35 seniors and a Division I quarterback. We’ve got our work cut out for us, and we’re just going to take one week at a time and try to get better each week.
LFM: What’s the strength of your team?
JC: Probably our defense. I think our two linebackers help solidify that and our secondary guys are older. They haven’t played, but they can run. Defensively, I feel like those guys are going to have to keep us in the ballgame and let our offense progress as the season goes on. If we don’t play good defense with the young group we have on offense, then it’s going to be a long year.
LFM: What kind of off season workout did you have your players do?
JC: Football now is a year round sport. We don’t have time to take off and just get ready in the summertime. We started from the day we got back after Christmas break. We lifted four days a week through the winter months in January to February. Then, we kind of started going outside a few days in March; started throwing the football around in March and first part of April. Then, we cut our workouts to three days a week, and we’d go outside and throw twice. This summer, we got in the weight room three days a week, which we require guys to make 22 workouts of the 27 that we had. Then, we also threw the football around a little bit and ran it. When we started practice in August, our guys had been working all the way from Christmas, so, we feel like we’re in good condition. I think that’s what’s helped us year in and year out is the condition we’ve been in.
LFM: Where’s the toughest place to play?
JC: I would say probably Neville. They have a lot of tradition there. They play extremely hard there at home. When we were in 4A we went down to Breaux Bridge. We won the ball game, but the stands are right there and you have the fans. You have the old fog, and you’re out there in the woods. It was kind of a rowdy place to go play, but we enjoyed the atmosphere. I think it’s a neat place to go play and come out with a win.
LFM: How many years have you been in coaching?
JC: 13 years. This is my fifth year as a head coach.
LFM: Where did you coach before you came to Ouachita?
JC: I was the offensive coordinator at East Mississippi Community College for one year in 2004. In 2002 and 2003, I was at Neville High School. I was the offensive coordinator. In 1998-2001, I was at West Monroe High School.
LFM: Do you have any coaching idols?
JC: I really look up to the head coach I had in college. I played at Louisiana Tech. The two guys I look up to as far as coaching was my high school coach was Chick Childress at Ruston. My dad was a football coach as well, but Chick Childress was the one that kind of made my mind up that this is what I wanted to do. So, when I went on to play football at Louisiana Tech, the head coach there was Joe Raymond Peace. All that did was pretty much solidify what I wanted to do. I had two fantastic football coaches and motivators that I played for in high school and an opportunity to play for one in college. Those two guys I still call from time to time for advice or just for talking.