Lots of new looks in spring ball at Grambling, NSU

SPRING MAKEOVER: Fifth-year Northwestern State football coach Brad Laird has new coordinators and new schemes on both sides of the ball as spring practice begins today.


Grambling’s already a couple practices into spring football under new head coach Hue Jackson. New for Northwestern State – offensive and defensive schemes, with young first-year coordinators on each side of the ball, as the Demons kick off their spring practices this afternoon in Turpin Stadium around 3:45 – weather permitting.

“It’s as important a spring practice as we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said head coach Brad Laird, who begins his fifth season at the helm of his alma mater in September. “Schematically, we’re different on both sides of the ball. The terminology will be different. For our guys, it’s one thing to be in a meeting setting. It’s another thing to be on the field and to be able to walk through things. And it’s another thing to go full speed, good on good.”

Half of NSU’s full-time coaching staff is new.

Offensive coordinator Cody Crill and defensive coordinator Weston Glaser will use the 15 workouts to install the foundation of their side of the ball while the Demons also added quarterbacks coach Kyle Washington and inside receivers coach Manny Harris to the staff. Joey Fitzgerald, who coached quarterbacks last season, has moved to wide receivers coach.

“A lot of things have changed since the last time we walked off the field against McNeese,” Laird said. “We’ve got through some coaching changes in all three phases as well as added some new faces who have been brought in over the last couple of months. Our guys have worked extremely hard in the offseason. We’ve had a good run since January. (Strength and conditioning) coach Erik (Schwager) has done a great job with those guys. We’ve been able to get out there and do some mental things from a football standpoint, but to be able to put the ball down, we’re excited and ready to see our guys in action.”

Northwestern will have 15 total practices and scrimmages in the spring, culminating with the Joe Delaney Bowl on April 9.

The Demons return 47 lettermen from the 2021 fall season, which ended with two wins in the final three games, including a 24-20 victory at McNeese in the season finale – NSU’s first win in Lake Charles since 1988.

NSU added nine junior college signees in the early signing period and added several FBS transfers who will take part in spring workouts.

Grambling is closing its spring workouts to public and media view until the annual Black and Gold Spring Game on April 2 at Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium.

GSU plans to stage the event like a traditional gameday, with tailgating, concessions and entertainment.

Students and fans are invited to witness Jackson’s first Tigers team in action, with a large returning roster from last season, in addition to 16 transfers Grambling State added in the offseason.

Photo by CHRIS REICH, Northwestern State