McNeese coach Lance Guidry split game prep duties with defensive coordinator Tommy Restivo. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Saturday, August 10, 2013 5:36 PMGetting sent to Lance Guidry’s dog house is a good thing — provided you’re the right kind of dog.
Training camp is supposed to be more work than fun, but the new McNeese State defensive coordinator has devised tactics to make work fun for his players.
Among those is his “dog chart.”
“We’re looking for two different types of dogs,” Guidry said. “One’s a pit bull and one’s a poodle.”
Needless to say, he’s not hoping for a defense full of poodles.
“Every time there’s a poodle play — which is a loaf, give up a touchdown, bust a coverage, whatever it may be, we call that a poodle. A pit bull is a great-effort play.”
This bit of doggerel, if you will, isn’t just empty name-calling. There’s a method behind it.
“Every day we’re going to chart how many poodles and pits we have. If they have more poodles than pits, they’ve got to run.”
This is not Guidry’s only way of getting his players’ attention in a public way.
Perhaps the first thing anyone watching a McNeese practice this August is that the defensive starters don’t have numbers on their jerseys. Instead, the front is emblazoned with the letters “D.W.A.”
It stands for Defense With Attitude, and it’s something the defensive players have chanted at the end of practice for years.
Guidry, who was a Cowboy when the chant started under then-coordinator Kirby Bruchhaus in the early 1990s, has taken it up a notch this year.
Only the No. 1 defense gets to wear the D.W.A. jerseys. If a player moves down the depth chart, it’s back to his old number while his replacement gets the jersey.
Even those players who are pretty safely entrenched as starters are motivated by the tactic.
“If you’re a (first-stringer), you want to keep your jersey. If you’re a 2, 3, 4, you want to get it,” said senior safety Terence Cahee. “That’s your ultimate goal. Competition brings the best out of everybody.”
Junior defensive end Everett Ellefsen is preseason all-Southland Conference, but taking nothing for granted.
“I want to keep that jersey on for the young kids to show I can actually play, especially with all the hype I have around me now,” Ellefsen said. “Every day when I walk up to my locker, I’m nervous checking to see if it’s still there.”
Guidry wants the D.W.A.-wearers to feel like the newest fraternity on campus.
“All those fraternity guys on campus — Omegas or Kappas or whatever — they’re really prideful. They’re brothers,” he said. “That’s what we tried to create here when I was a player, and we’re trying to bring it back.”
Head coach Matt Viator is a fan of what Guidry’s doing, which is a big reason he brought the Welsh native back into the fold after his post-McNeese stints at Miami (Ohio), Western Kentucky and Stephen F. Austin.
“He has a history and is proven as a motivator of young men. That’s what he does,” Viator said. “He’s obviously very passionate about what he does. He has a lot of energy. I think that’s always rubbed off on not only the players, but the coaches that are around him.
“He’s as competitive a person as I’ve been around. He has to win every play. That’s also contagious. I definitely knew what I was getting.”