LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - “What we’re enjoying as a coaching staff, being our second year here, is knowing our personnel," said head coach Chad Lavergne. "Last year it took to week five or six for us to know the strengths and weaknesses of our players. Now, we know that. We had a great offseason and we understand what they can and cannot do.”
With a new coaching staff, St. Louis took its bumps to start the 2018 season. The Saints were sitting with a 1-5 record halfway through the season. But a strong finish propelled this group into the offseason as SLC won four of its last six games, including a first-round playoff victory.
“We’re building off last year. We started off weak last season," lineman Timothy Thomason said. "Hopefully, we can continue to build off that and come out strong and fighting.”
“We’re trying to start where we left off and build on to it," wide receiver Jadon Johnson said. "We’re just trying to get better each day.
Offensively, St. Louis has plenty of depth in the backfield with leading rusher Evan Joubert returning following a 700-yard season. They’ll play to their personal, running a multiple offense with plenty of two-back sets.
“We got Wesley Maze coming back with Evan Joubert," Lavergne expressed. "We have some other back up backs that will get some time in to keep us fresh. We got Jadon Johnson and Chase Wilson too so we’re able to go spread some.”
Joining the running backs behind center is quarterback Cooper Miller. He took over the starting QB duties mid-season last year as he finished the season with nearly 700 yards and seven touchdowns. Lavergne said he's seen Miller's growth this offseason.
“He brings consistency and keeps his emotions under control," said Lavergne. "If things go bad, he knows every play. If it’s bad or good, it’s only one play and he get back to the next pay. He has a very good demeanor and the kids tend to feed off that.”
Timothy Thomason: “That’s my quarterback. He’s good, calm in the pocket. He’s not afraid to throw the ball.”
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On the other side of the ball, the Saints will continue running the 4-2-5. St. Louis will be looking to the guys up front to anchor this defense.
“The defensive line looks deep," Lavergne admitted. "We got Gabe Johnson who is one of our primer defensive linemen. We also have Kemal Robertson. You do have some guys playing both sides of the ball like Tim Thomason. A lot of those O linemen and D lineman will be playing both sides of the ball to give us depth.”
With the bulk of experience returning on both sides of the ball this season for the Saints, there’s plenty for St. Louis to build upon. But, through it all, this senior class has one goal in mind.
“Just stepping out there for my last go around. Win or go home," Johnson said. "I’m just going to live it out to the fullest.”
“Just getting out there and playing one last time with my brothers,” Thomason expressed.