The St. Louis Saints took a step back last year coming off a district title, posting just three wins. Simply put, St. Louis wasn't happy with 2016.
"You have to learn in football to overcome adversity. I don't think we did a very good job of that. It starts with me, I take fault for that. It's not going to happen again. Our standards are high here and they are going to continue to be high as long as we're here."
If the Saints re-emerge in the district race this season, it'll likely be because of senior quarterback, Bailey Hardy. St. Louis has built this spread offense around him and his ability to run and throw. After SLC changed offenses late into the season, Hardy averaged nearly 250 yards and two scores per game.
"It's opened things up for him. We get the ball in his hands and we can run, and he is throwing the ball well. His reads are a lot easier and he's really growing into it."
"I'm just coming into more of a leadership role. When I first came in, I was just trying to follow the seniors and trying not to mess up too much. This year, I have to lead the guys and get them where they need to go."
The Saints return eight total starters on offense including four lineman, that should give Bailey confidence in the pocket and the running game. For an old school coach like Charlie Cryer, he never thought this type of offense would be in his future.
"I never thought I would be in the spread, ever, but it's the way of the world. I always tell these young coaches, you have to be able to adjust to the situation. I think it fits our personnel good, we have some good receivers and a good quarterback. If you would've told me 10 years ago I'd be running the spread, I would've probably left the interview."
The Saint defense makes a change too. St. Louis will employ a 4-2-5 defense, that will be led by the team's linebackers and safeties. The senior trio of Grant Cholley, Noah Comeaux and Seth Boullion will be asked to be leaders.
"I need to lead, and I do lead. Everyone looks at me because I started all last year and a little bit in my sophomore year, so they know I have experience. I feel like everyone on defense looks at me."
"I feel my back half is really good, and were bigger than we have been. They're going to have to step up, it will take a little time but we feel good with defense the running and they feel comfortable with it."
The Saints also possess arguably the best kicker in the area in Adam Ieyoub. The senior already holds an offer from Army.
It'll take a combined effort of all three phases for the Saints to rise back up to the top of the standings.
"I definitely feel like we are going to go farther this year just because of our chemistry that we have on this team. We all hang out together and we bond really well."
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