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Not since 2002 has a Largo football team entered fall camp without defensive coordinator Matt Lepain roaming the sideline, drawing up new schemes and creating general chaos for opposing teams’ offenses.
Lepain, however, was finally given a head coaching position during the offseason after many near misses, landing at Palm Harbor University when former Hurricanes’ coach Mark Haye was fired after two seasons.
Monday, the Packers opened the 2011 season with Jeremy Frioud in the defensive commander seat. Frioud, formerly the Packers’ defensive line coach, is entering his 10th season on the Largo coaching staff. That, says Largo head coach Rick Rodriguez, has helped create a seamless transition from Lepain to Frioud.
“I like giving my assistants coordinator positions. I like moving them up,” Rodriguez said. “They know how we operate as a team, and they already have pride in our program.”
Frioud is an intensely driven coach who always seems a missed tackle away from strapping on a helmet and delivering some pain himself.
“He’s passionate and he works hard,” Rodriguez said. “He’s got a lot of energy, and he brings a lot of energy to the team. The kids love to play for him.”
Frioud said his No. 1 goal for his defense this season is to be the most physical team in the county.
“It’s not about yards, it’s not about points, we’re going to be more physical than every other football team,” Frioud said. “If we’re more physical, we’re going to have a great defense.”
For the Largo defense in 2011, it begins up front on the line where the Packers return a combined 10 years of starting experience.
“They’re the strength of our defense,” Frioud said.
Junior Derrick Doss anchors the secondary from his strong safety position and is fully healthy after a slight tear in his meniscus in the spring. Also, Frioud singled out Derek Webb as a rising prospect on the defense. Webb, an inside linebacker, is a senior but hasn’t played football since his freshman season.