Vaught's Views: French likes most of what he's seen at Lincoln

June 30, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

From what he's seen during summer workouts, Larry French thinks he has the right tools to begin rebuilding the Lincoln County football program.

"From the kids' point of view, things are going pretty good. They have been out and playing hard. We had a good summer," said French, who left a successful program at Meade County to take over the Patriots after Robbie Lucas did not have his coaching contract renewed.

"We've just got to learn to compete. They go through drills at full speed, and then they just lose it. They lose that competitive edge. We've got to get over that, but that's a big hump to get over."

The numbers have been encouraging. He had as many as 48 players and some workouts and at least 42 at most even though some players did not participate because of basketball or baseball commitments.


He took 11 linemen and two assistant coaches to the Hog Heaven Camp in Owensboro. The players not only got instruction and got to compete against players from Scott County, McLean County, Fort Campbell, Owensboro and Central Hardin, but the Patriots had some bonding time with their new coaches.

"They had three-a-day workouts that were two hours apiece. They got a lot of work," French said. "I had a lot of fun. We found out a few things about some of the kids and they found out some things about us. It was good for everyone."

Blair and Rogers have shown signs of solid play at quarterback

His skilled players participated in a 7-on-7 passing tournament in Louisville and won two of three games. Junior Matt Blair and freshman Levi Rogers have both shown French signs of solid play at quarterback.

"Rogers has a decent arm. Eventually he's going to be a good quarterback for us. He is definitely the future," said French, who coached at Mercer County from 1978-88.

He's liked the potential he's seen from Lincoln's freshman class. He only wishes he had a full-time freshman coach on his staff.

"Maybe we can change some attitudes down the road and get us one," French said.

He does have four full-time assistant coaches. He's added Brad Hood (running backs) and Zack Massingill (secondary) from Campbellsville University. Dean Wilkes is back to work with the offensive linemen and Jake Simms will handle the defensive linemen.

The coach also says Lincoln officials have kept their promise to upgrade equipment and other needs the program have.

"I gave them a request list and they have delivered on that. I can't fuss about them not spending money on stuff we need," French said. "The community has got involved and helped us, too. I think the high school people are trying to make this work."

If his wife doesn't find teaching job, he may not be Lincoln's coach

However, one major problem remains before preseason workouts officially start July 12 or Lincoln opens the season by hosting Harrison County Aug. 20. French's wife, Connie, a primary teacher, still does not have a job here. She's had interviews, but no job offers.

"Not everything is falling in place the way we wanted," French said. "It will be difficult to move (to Lincoln County) with only one teaching position (in the family).

"We can't buy a house until she gets a job. Hopefully, she will interview at the right time and someone will have a job. But if we don't get this worked out, we won't be here on Friday nights (during football season)."

Believe him. Those who know French understand one thing that Lincoln players and fans soon will - he doesn't mince words and his word is good as gold. That's why even though he remains optimistic that his wife will find a job, he also knows school starts in about five weeks.

"All we can do is wait and hope, but I also know time is running out to get this worked out," French said.

Which means time is also running out on Lincoln's football future because with French, the Patriots have every reason to be optimistic about what lies ahead. But if something forces Lincoln to start next season without French, then a major rebuilding job is going to get a lot hard-er, or maybe even impossible.

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