BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - After a two week hiatus from the practice, the Biloxi Indians made their return just three days before their first game.
“Feeling grateful to be back out here. It’s been a long two weeks for us," head coach Katlan French said. "It’s really been a long summer and fall camp for us, but we’re happy to be here. Just thankful for the opportunity to be on the field and play football.”
Although four starters from last year’s offensive line are gone, the Indians return a slew of weapons at every other offensive position - making them dangerous, no matter how young they are up front.
“We have a lot of young offensive lineman but they’re very talented, so we’re trying to keep it very simple at the moment," French said. "We have good weapons with our running backs, receivers, and a good quarterback that’s smart. We just have to figure out a way to get the ball into the hands of guys who can do something with it, and I think we have a good plan for that.”
On the other side of the ball, the defense could be one of the strongest groups in all of South Mississippi. Headlined by Ole Miss commit Elijah Sabbatini and loaded with talent from top to bottom, the unit has taken a leadership role throughout an unprecedented offseason.
“You have so many names - really four or five guys that have been here for a long time," French said. "Chance Keith, Thomas Patterson, Marcus Dickey, Devon Smith and Elijah Sabbatini. Those guys have played a lot of football. They’ve been starters here for a long time, since their younger days. They’re very good football players, very mature, and I think they’re not just leaders on the defense, they’re leaders on our whole team.”
After missing out on their first scheduled game, the Indians are taking a moment to appreciate that first run onto the field on Friday night.
“I just want them to make sure they don’t worry about the scoreboard, don’t worry about how much time is on the clock, just go out there and enjoy playing football," French said. "It’s been stripped from us already for one game, we really hope that doesn’t happen again, but in the back of our minds we know it could. I just want them to have fun, not worry about anything except playing high school football, and control what we can control.”
And once they get rolling, watch out.
“If we can just go out there and practice and play some games with our full team, we’re going to be a very exciting team to watch this year," French said. "I hope and pray we get the opportunity to be the football team I know we can be.”
Biloxi will begin their nine-game 2020 slate Friday, September 11 against Vicksburg at home.
The Indians improved their win total by four last year as well as making their first playoff appearance since 2016. Devoid of a playoff victory since 2011, Biloxi and their 25 seniors have their eyes set on a deep postseason run.