“When coaches start coming around, you know what time it is,” joked Cook.
The Notre Dame Pioneers head football coach reflected on the team’s 2011 campaign and expressed his excitement to the Rotarians at the club’s meeting.
Cook began his discussion by looking back at last season that he says taught him a lot about the team.
“It (The season) showed a lot about the seniors we had last year,” he said. “They found themselves in an unfamiliar situation when we went into district schedule.
He explained how he knew the season would be a tough one last year just by looking at the latter half of his schedule, the district 4-3A side.
“I said last year that that was the most competitive district we moved into since I have been at Notre Dame ... from top to bottom,” he said.
“I can remember walking off the field in New Iberia last year and we had just gotten beat by Catholic High. So we are in the first five weeks and we’re 2-3 and I told one of the coaches we may not win another game. ... That’s how good that district was.”
But as proof that his team was comprised of fighters, the Pios went undefeated in district. It would suffer its fourth loss of the season in the playoffs. Still, though, it also stands as proof to Cook that there is more to football than winning football games, it’s also about respect and teaching the players about life.
Now, though, Notre Dame finds itself in less familiar position, being the hunters and not the hunted, and for Cook, it is a welcomed change of pace.
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That, coupled with the team’s great work in the offseason, has added to Cook’s excitement about this season.
“We have a really good schedule and I’m really excited about this team,” he said.
“They continue to put in great effort and when kids put in that kind of work it makes you want great things for them. They deserve good things to happen to them.”
The offseason work isn’t quite over for Notre Dame, or any local team for that matter, as workouts continue as they lead up to scrimmage week next week and jamborees the following week.
Notre Dame will once again travel to St. Thomas More for their scrimmage next Thursday, an opportunity for a “challenge” for the Pios according to Cook.
The following week they will play at Ragin’ Cajun Field in opening Friday game of the Kiwanis Jamboree. The Pios will take on Northside, which will be “great competition” for Notre Dame.
Then it will be time to start the season and Cook says he continues to tell his players to make the most out of the 10 games they play.
One part of the season Cook is not looking forward to, as he explained Tuesday, is the upcoming talks of reclassification that arise every two years. That will occur, he said, between October and November, just as Louisiana prep football season begins winding down.
Still though, Cook has plenty to be excited about and believes this area, from two great teams in the city, through the collegiate level continues to be lucky with great football to enjoy.
“There’s so many great football teams in this area,” he said. “It’s just a really exciting time.”