Finding ways to put all the pieces for success together is a common talking point for some head football coaches when they take over a program. Not Justin Joseph.
The new East Iberville High head coach says keeping things together is the key for the Class 1A Tigers.
“Over the last two years I have seen the change take place,” Joseph said. “The culture is different and the guys we have believe they can win. Now what we want to do is continue to build on that.
“Not much will be different. I think the key the last two years was showing the kids we are here, we care about them and we plan to stay. They (players) bought in and so has the community.”
The 32-year-old Joseph was one of two notable coaches hired this week. Guy Blanchard, who spent 10 years as head football coach at Port Allen, is the new associate head coach/defensive coordinator and head softball coach at Class 4A Livonia.
Joseph has been a defensive assistant at EIHS the last two years. He was head coach at his alma mater, Istrouma, in 2012. From there, Joseph moved to Scotlandville. The former Louisiana College player was the Hornets’ defensive coordinator when they finished as the Division I select runners-up in 2016 and advanced to the semifinals in 2017.
At East Iberville, Joseph takes over for Ron LeJeune, who moved back to Plaquemine High as an assistant coach after three seasons. The Tigers return 16 seniors and are coming off and 8-3 record and the school’s first-ever berth in the quarterfinals. In 2018, the Tigers were 7-5.
Joseph said the Tigers will continue to run a 4-2-5 defense and will tweak their wing-T offense to include some spread elements.
“We want to keep people from packing the box on us,” Joseph said. “So we will also spread it some and give our athletes a chance to make plays in space.”
Blanchard, who has not coached football since 2015-16, joins the staff of first-year Livonia head coach Josh LaBorde. It will be a role reversal. LaBorde was an assistant to Blanchard for 10 seasons at Port Allen.
“I stepped back and spent some time with my own kids,” Blanchard said. “When Josh called and said he wanted me to come to Livonia, the first thing I did was talk to my family and they are 100 percent on board.
“It’s great to be back. I always loved the grind you have in football. I missed that.”