Vaught's Views: French believes in Pats

August 22, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

STANFORD - Because he won't take possession of his new home until Oct. 1, Larry French and his wife are renting a duplex here.

His wife, Connie, goes back to their home in Meade County on weekends while he stays at Lincoln County to coach his football team.

"It has been a little hard, but we're surviving," said French.

Things didn't get any easier this weekend. French was supposed to make his Lincoln coaching debut in the Death Valley Bowl Friday night, but lightning postponed the game until Saturday. When the Patriots did get to play, they lost 34-14 to Harrison County.

"I knew we had an uphill battle. We are not real talented, but we can make up for that with our work ethic on the field," French said. "But we can't hang our heads if adversity hits, and it will hit."


French said one thing Lincoln must do to be become competitive, especially if a move from Class AAA to Class AAAA does become a reality as expected next year, is increase its staff size. He has four full-time assistants now, but only two teach in the school system.

During his time at Meade, a Class AAAA team, he had either seven or eight assistant coaches and all worked in the school system.

He would like to have a full-time freshman coach and freshman team at Lincoln.

"We need a freshman team that can practice by itself," French said. "We need more kids out playing football and that's one way to do it. A lot of freshmen don't want to even practice against older kids."

He would like county-wide little league program under his control

He wants to see continued improvement at the middle school level, but French would also like a county-wide little league program under his control. "That's how you start developing talent," French said.

While adding coaches is something easy to monitor, another need is not. French said Lincoln must "become closer" to have a solid program. He's been pleased with what the Lincoln booster club, administration and community in general have done so far, but he wants more of a team attitude with emphasis on winning and not individual results or playing time.

However, French has discovered since taking the job about six months ago that Lincoln Countians are as "hungry" for a winning football team as he thought.

"I've been real pleased with people's willingness to help," French said. "We just need some success. If we can have some success, it will breed more success. It might take time to do it, but we can get it done."

He's planning to use a lot of young players this year. He likes the talent in his freshman class, but also doesn't want to overwhelm those players this year to the point that some might get discouraged and not play again.

"We are going to get knocked down. If we don't quit, we'll be fine," French said. "We can win here. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be here. But it's not going to be easy and it's not going to be a quick fix. It's going to take a lot of work by a lot of people, but I've not seen anything yet that makes me believe good things can't eventually happen here."

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