All eyes are on Austin Floyd, the 25-year-old first-time head coach at Laurence Manning Academy as the school transitions to a new era of Swampcats football this season.
Despite his youth, Floyd brings a wealth of experience, including a 1A state …
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Despite his youth, Floyd brings a wealth of experience, including a 1A state championship victory while serving as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Lamar High School.
Floyd's coaching style is perhaps more aligned with a 65-year-old than a 25-year-old, though. He's not planning to come in and throw the ball 45 times a game. Instead, he's steadfastly committed to old school, smashmouth football.
"Teams that are successful, they stop the run and they run the ball," Floyd said. "We're going to try to shorten games because the teams we play are very athletic and very fast. So for us to compete, we're not going to be able to get into shootouts. We're going to try to run the ball and control the flow of the game."
It's a style that runs in direct contrast to most of the other SCISA 3A schools who tend to run spread offenses, but Floyd sees an opportunity to separate his program from the pack.
"We know who the top dog is (Hammond), but from 2-10 (the remainder of 3A) I think it can be wide open," Floyd said. "We have to stay healthy, and we have to have a sense of urgency, and every game does matter for that seeding. If we can avoid the injury bug, then I think we can have a chance."
Floyd and his coaching staff has spent the spring and summer getting his players prepared for the style of football he wants to execute.
"Our coaches have done a great job getting them ready," said Foyd. "We came a really long way in the spring, and we just have to continue."
Standards are high at LMA. The fans have grown accustomed to winning, and are looking for Floyd to help take the Swampcats to the next level.
"Laurence Manning has a pretty passionate fan base," senior lineman C.J. Griffith said. "If you look at our away games, we have more patrons in the stands than the home team does. With all of those eyes watching and all of those parents cheering us on, it's really good motivation to make them proud and prove we can handle ourselves out there on the field."
"To me, football is not a very complicated game," Floyd said. "You gotta lift weights, you gotta get stronger, you gotta have discipline, and you have to have a core group of guys that shows up on a daily basis and wants to get better ... There's a lot of guys walking around with tons of years of experience, and they still haven't figured it out. I'm not saying I have, but I'm continuing every day to try to make myself a better coach."
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