Paradise Panthers: Paradise to rebuild, make some noise

Paradise-Football

By Clay Corbett, ccorbett@wcmessenger.com

Paradise has seen a lot of change over the past year – including three different athletic directors after the retirement of longtime AD Danny Neighbors.

When Britt Hart quit after a few weeks on the job, defensive coordinator and Paradise baseball coach Scott Broussard was named to lead the program.

Since May, Broussard has been busy filling out his coaching staff while getting the Panthers ready for the 2013 season.

The dust has settled, and the new head coach is ready to play some football.

“The kids are working hard, showing up for practice and getting after it,” Broussard said. “The offense is coming along, and they are picking up on the scheme of things.”

Broussard is changing the Panthers’ offensive philosophy to a more run-oriented attack, and after the search for a defensive coordinator came up empty, Broussard will retain that title.

“I decided to bring a couple of young coaches in and do the defense myself,” Broussard said. “It’s been a good fit for our team.”

With scheme changes on both sides of the ball, the Panthers will have to prepare quickly for a difficult preseason schedule.

They open on the road against No. 8 Grandview. After another road game at Henrietta and a neutral-site game in Denton against Leonard, their home opener and homecoming brings Krum to town.

“We are going to see real quick where we stand,” Broussard said. “I want to see effort. One things we can’t coach is effort – we can fix the other things.

“We are not going to be polished and perfect the first game of the year, but one thing we can take care of is playing hard.”

A bye week follows the Krum contest. Paradise then starts a tough District 5-2A schedule on the road at league favorite Whitesboro.

Broussard would like to see some confidence-building wins in the preseason. The Panthers began last year 0-4.

“It would be a big plus to get an early win and get used to those expectations,” Broussard said.

Paradise takes on Bowie, Pilot Point and defending district champion Callisburg after Whitesboro.

“If our kids keep working and buying into what we’re doing, then we have a chance to surprise some people this year,” Broussard said.

Class 2A has the luxury of four teams advancing to the postseason this year – a big bonus in a difficult 5-2A.

“There were some good teams that sat at home last year,” Broussard said. “It gives your kids an opportunity to fight and if you drop one or two you still have a chance to be a playoff team.”

IN WITH THE NEW

After a terrible season offensively, Broussard felt a change of philosophy was needed. He’s taken out the shotgun spread attack and replaced it with the Wing-T.

“It’s a big change for us,” Broussard said. “We are still going to use some of the same concepts. The linemen are having to make adjustments on the field.”

Paradise ranked last in the county in 2012 with 228 yards of total offense per game – including just 122 yards per game rushing. If the new run-oriented attack takes hold, those numbers should rise.

Last season’s quarterback, Tanner Valentine, will battle Dillon Meadows for the starting job.

The Panthers are deep at the skill positions. Austin Hogan and Robert Norvell will help lead the backfield, while Luke Gage and Cody Carmichael are emerging as the top receivers.

“With the skill guys we have a lot of depth, but we have several guys that are going to have to play both ways,” Broussard said.

Since he’s keeping his duties as defensive coordinator, Broussard will lean on Dennis Cobb to call the plays.

He is confident his coaches can handle the offense while he makes any adjustments with his defense.

Speaking of defense, Broussard has tried to simplify things in an effort to free some of his kids up.

“Our alignment and terminology is the same,” he said. “We have simplified our coverages and changed things so they don’t think as much, so we can play more aggressive.”

Depth won’t be much of an issue for the Panthers except up front. Broussard says both lines are thin on numbers.

“The biggest concern I have is staying healthy in the offensive and defensive line,” he said. “We have some guys who can step up and play there, they are just unproven right now.”

Paradise is putting a lot of work in on special teams in the early going – a part of the game where they hope to take advantage of opportunities.

“We are doing some things different on special teams,” Broussard said. “It’s the phase of the game we really need to work on, because it might be the difference for us.”

If all three phases come together for the Panthers it might be the year they surprise some people.

“A lot of people probably overlook us after last season,” Broussard said.

PROJECTIONS

District 5-2A Division I

1. Whitesboro – All-state running back Collin Kilcrease is back after the Bearcats’ second straight playoff appearance.

2. Boyd – The Yellowjackets have weapons all over the field and an emerging offensive line.

3. Pilot Point – The Bearcats will be looking to return to the postseason and have the experience returning to do so.

4. Bowie – The Jackrabbits have the pieces in place, especially at quarterback, to get back to the playoffs.

5. Callisburg – The Wildcats shocked people winning this tough district last year. District MVP Clay McKenzie is gone and possibly the playoffs.

6. Paradise – New head coach Scott Broussard has brought a lot of changes to the Panthers program, but will they take hold in time?

7. Ponder – The Lions have questions at most positions.

2013 SCHEDULE

Aug. 30 … Grandview … Away
Sept. 6 … Henrietta … Away
Sept. 12 … Leonard … Denton
Sept. 20 … Krum# … Home
Oct. 4 … Whitesboro* … Away
Oct. 11 … Bowie* … Home
Oct. 18 … Pilot Point* … Away
Oct. 25 … Callisburg* … Home
Nov. 1 … Boyd* … Away
Nov. 8 … Ponder* … Home

All games at 7:30 p.m.
# homecoming game
* district game

TEAM ROSTER

2 … Cody Blackstock … RB/LB … 12
3 … Jordan McCasland … RB/DB … 11
4 … Dillon Meadows … QB/DB … 11
5 … Chris Hill … RB/DB … 11
6 … Cash Preather … WR/LB … 11
8 … Qwinton Odom … WR/DL … 12
9 … Skylar Clawson … WR/DB … 11
10 … Jarret Holt … WR/DB … 12
11 … Tanner Valentine … QB/DB … 12
15 … Cody Carmichael … WR/DB … 12
20 … Taylor Edwards … RB/LB … 12
21 … Robert Norvell … RB/DB … 12
22 … Austin Hogan … RB/LB … 11
24 … Luke Gage … WR/DB … 11
31 … Nathan Doughty … WR/DB … 12
32 … Skylar Black … TE/LB … 11
33 … Kristof Pewitt … RB/LB … 12
34 … Walker Richard … WR/DL … 12
36 … Kalyb Connor … WR/DB … 11
40 … Cole Harris … WR/DB … 11
50 … Colton Brown … OL/DL … 11
51 … Erby Higgins … OL/DL … 12
54 … Drew Carter … OL/LB … 11
58 … Luke Rogers … OL/DL … 11
60 … Randy Luevano … OL/DL … 11
65 … Zackary Wood … OL/DL … 11
67 … Aaron Roberts … OL/DL … 12
70 … Nick Loney … OL/LB … 11
71 … Alfonso Deleija … OL/DL … 11
75 … Brandon McCutchen … OL/DL … 11
77 … Luke Miller … OL/DL … 11
80 … Daniel Alexander … TE/LB … 12
88 … Mason Cline … WR/DB … 11