Building a culture: Bulldogs look ahead to spring game, summer workouts

Published 11:30 am Sunday, May 8, 2022

NATCHEZ — Bulldog football players took a knee after practice Thursday as head coach Steve Davis spoke to them. It has been a little over a month since he was named the head coach. 

He started the spring with 106 kids and by this week, 80 remained. In that month, he has focused on establishing a new culture and work ethic, pacing players through five gassers and 100-yard sprints at the start of practices.

Players will either keep up or get left behind.. 

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“Our goal is to play the first week of December,” he said. “It starts now with discipline.” 

Getting to that state title game in December means being disciplined, he said. Davis films each practice, reviewing afterwards.

He tells players to be smart in their decision-making, on and off the field. Anyone who gets in trouble between now and May 27 is suspended from the first two games of the season, he said. 

“They have responded better than I thought. When we got started, the energy was high, and I was pretty pleased,” Davis said. “For us, conditioning is our biggest issue. We aren’t in shape, and the summer will be big for us.”

Summer workouts will start at 6 a.m. with weight lifting, running on the track and working on flexibility. He already has the plan for the first day of summer practices once June arrives. Skill players will run 400 meters multiple times, and linemen will run 110 meters.  

Before summer arrives, Natchez plays a spring game against Port Gibson next Thursday. He expects the Port Gibson program will bring its band down for the game. JV will play a running clock half of football at 6 p.m., and Varsity will play a half at 7 p.m. 

“I want to see aggression. We have been preaching 11 hats to the ball. I want to see them doing that,” Davis said. “We have kept it simple over the spring. I want to see those guys play fast and be physical. Offensively we want to get our ball to the playmakers. Defensively we want them to get to the ball and make plays.”

Over the summer, Natchez will send skill players and linemen to a camp at LSU. Kickers and deep snappers will go to other camps..

Davis said it was something Natchez used to do before COVID. Kids would go to camps at LSU and MSU. This year he is encouraging the kids to visit colleges they like so coaches can see them. 

“At the end of June, we will go to the University of Alabama so we can get some more competition against some of the area schools up there,” Davis said. “They will get the coaching from the college coaches while we watch… It has been a busy five weeks since I was hired. The kids have welcomed me, and I’m glad they have. We are starting to turn the corner. Everything takes time to get them to believe in everything we want them to do. It is coming.”