FIRST THINGS FIRST: Cathedral football hits weight room under new head coach

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2016

NATCHEZ — Cathedral head football coach Chuck Darbonne is hitting the ground running on the first day of his new job.

In the Tuesday-afternoon heat, Darbonne was on the Cathedral football field leading the junior high players through agility drills, and he later joined the varsity squad in the weight room during the first day of Green Wave football workouts.

“(The first day) is going to be exhausting, I think, once the last person leaves,” Darbonne said while his team lifted weights.

Email newsletter signup

Darbonne said the tone of the early workouts is high-energy. While players are not allowed to wear full pads, according to MAIS rules, Darbonne said there would be no point this early in the summer. His intent is to assess the conditioning of his team and probe the athletes on his roster.

“We’re trying to find out what kind of shape they’re in, and skill-wise what they have out there,” Darbonne said. “We’ll do a lot of assessing as far as what positions they can play, because I’m going in blind as far as where people play and where they’re comfortable. “

Darbonne said he typically practices 1.5 hours with the junior varsity before the varsity team works out. Darbonne said the first week will be centered around acclimating players to new drills and coaching style.

“We’ll do a lot of agility work and sprint work,” Darbonne said. “We’ll work on some routes and 7-on-7. Drills for the big guys, we’ll try to split up and get as much individual work with them as possible.”

Darbonne added, beacause of the novelty of some of his workouts, players won’t be competing for spots or starting roles until the team is in full pads.

Darbonne has had limited time with his new team but their work ethic stands out to him the most.

“There’s a lot of effort and a lot of want-to out here,” he said. “Guys want to be good. They’re here, and they’re asking lots of questions. It seems like a great community so far.”

Cathedral’s new head man said his assistant have helped him adjust to life in Natchez, and he admires the close-knit community.

“(The assistant coaches) and (Athletic director Craig) Beesley have been great as far as helping me get acclimated,” Darbonne said.

Darbonne said Cathedral will practice several times weekly throughout the summer until the first official day of practice begins on July 25.