Davion Ward, a Natchez High School defensive end, practices tackling a dummy during the Cathedral High School linemen camp Thursday morning at the CHS football field. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

Cathedral hosts NHS for linemen camp

Published 12:01am Friday, June 29, 2012

NATCHEZ — Brett Beard may coach at Destrehan High School, but it doesn’t keep him from staying up to date on Natchez teams.

Beard, a former Vanderbilt and NFL offensive lineman, was on hand to help coach at Cathedral High School’s linemen camp Thursday morning and afternoon, along with Belhaven University defensive line coach Justin Sawyer. Cathedral hosted Natchez High School players along with its own, and it was Beard’s second year to work with Natchez players at the camp.

“I love coaching, and I love these kids,” Beard said. “I coach in Louisiana, but I have teams in Mississippi I root for and follow, because I’ve become a fan. There’s never a dull moment.”

Cathedral and NHS are among the teams he keeps up with, and thanks to his coaching tips, he may have a hand in whatever success the schools have this upcoming season.

“I know more now through different coaches I played for, clinics I’ve been to and things I picked up as a coach,” Beard said. “This is stuff I wish someone would have told me when I played. It’s just little tricks I picked up that people say may not be right, but it really is.”

NHS senior defensive lineman Shedrick Green said he’s learned several useful techniques he can take into games this fall, including how to get off the ball, get balanced and use his body strength. Green said if he’s lined up against someone stronger than him, there are techniques he can use to win the fight.

“If the pressure’s on you, I can use my hands and pull them down, and use their momentum against them,” Green said.

With coaches like Beard and Sawyer who have both played and coached at the next level, Green said that lends credibility to what the two are trying to teach.

“To me, it gives them all the credibility in the world,” Green said. “I know they have this experience, and I know they’re passing this experience off to us.”

NHS offensive line coach Trey Woodard said the camp served as a good opportunity for his players to get some much-needed work in.

“Anytime you can work on technique in the summer, it’s good,” Woodard said. “We don’t get a whole lot of time to do that due to vacations and everything.”

Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing said he was glad two local schools were able to benefit from the knowledge Beard and Sawyer passed along.

“They invite us over there for seven-on-seven (drills), and we talk all the time,” Rushing said. “We told them about what we were doing and asked if they wanted to get involved.”

Woodard also said he was glad to work with Cathedral and try to help both teams get ready for the fall.

“We’re the two (MHSAA) schools in town, so we should be trying to build relationships,” Woodard said.

“Rona and I talk about scheme a lot, and anytime we can help each other, we try to. There’s not much point in being in the same town if we don’t.”

Rushing said the players always enjoy learning from Beard and Sawyer.

“We look forward to them coming back every year,” Rushing said. “They stressed fundamentals, and if you’re not as athletic as the guy you’re facing, the better off you are fundamentally, that sort of evens things out.”