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Football: La. Guard’s leadership course tests UL’s football team

Sgt. Noshoba Davis, The Advertiser, July 23, 2016

160708-Z-CC612-225Players from the UL’s football team use problem-solving skills to cross a water feature during a teamwork and leadership exercise at the Camp Beauregard in Pineville. The UL football department hopes to make this a yearly event for not only the senior players, but possibly the whole team. (Photo: Sgt. Noshoba Davis/US Army National Guard)

 PINEVILLE — The Louisiana National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Command partnered with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s football team for a leadership and teamwork exercise at the leadership reaction course at Camp Beauregard in Pineville on July 8.

The Ragin’ Cajuns sent 15 seniors to participate in the exercise.

“It’s building a community relation,” said Maj. Kurt Talbot, B Company commander, RRC. “The National Guard is a community-based organization where any time we can interact with, and help out the community, that’s what our mission is.”

Teamwork and leadership are two key components for serving in the Guard, or on a football team. Soldiers must work as a team when in the field or on a mission; the same goes for a football team on the field in a game. But teamwork requires a leader to follow.

“I felt like we could enhance the leadership quality of our team especially with some of our seniors,” said UL Head Coach Mark Hudspeth. “After seeing this, it was a home run. I’m really glad that our players had the opportunity to come to Camp Beauregard and be a part of this. We saw guys step up … and I think they saw some of their own leadership qualities come out. I think it’s really going to pay dividends.”

The Ragin’ Cajuns seniors were put through different scenarios that tested their problem-solving skills. The football players had to figure out how to escape a prisoner of war camp, how to move supplies across a water feature and how to build a bridge while getting the whole team and all of their supplies across a water feature.

“It was hard and I’ve got more respect for everyone who does this for our country,” said Karmichael Dunbar, a defensive lineman and five-year veteran of the team. “The whole group felt like we were leaders, but you have to know and be able to follow too. It’s knowing when I need to step up and say something, and being behind somebody’s idea 100 percent.”

The UL football department said they hope to make this a yearly event for not only the senior players, but possibly the whole team.