By TONY TAGLAVORE, Journal Sports
The roller coaster at the upcoming State Fair of Louisiana will look like a merry-go-round compared to the highs and lows, twists and turns, Grambling’s Lyndon Rash has ridden.
As a redshirt freshman, Rash was a member of the 2017 team that won the SWAC (7-0) and went 11-2 overall — losing in the Celebration Bowl to North Carolina A&T.
Now a fifth-year graduate student, Rash is the leading receiver on a 1-5 team that’s 0-3 in conference. Two of the Tigers’ five loses have been by 55 and 42 points.
In between, the Baton Rouge native has played for two head coaches and so many coordinators, Rash has lost count.
One more thing. Rash tore his ACL in early 2021. He missed that year’s spring Covid season and the fall campaign.
“I’ve seen the good and the bad,” Rash said. “I’ve seen the ups and the downs. I’m thankful for it all. I know what the winning looks like, and I know what the losing looks like. It’s like different seasons. You learn different things. I’m thankful for the different things I learned each season.”
For example, while playing under so many coordinators, Rash took a little something from each one.
“It’s been tough, but it’s also been good. Guys preach different formations. I learned a lot of football with all the different coordinators. I learned different things from each one. It’s tough as far as learning plays as quick as possible, but once you get it, you understand it.”
In those 2021 seasons, there wasn’t any point in learning plays. All Rash could do was watch, and offer encouragement to his teammates. It was encouragement they needed, as Grambling went 0-4 in the conference-only spring season, and 4-7 (3-5) in the fall.
“It was tough. It was tough. I took responsibility because I’m a competitor. When we went (winless) in the spring, I felt like I let my team down with my injury. They were depending on me so much. I’m one of those guys who likes to be depended on. I wasn’t out there to help them.”
Despite his team’s rocky start to this season, Rash is having a nice year. He has 18 catches for 351 yards and three touchdowns. Two of his TD’s have gone for 83 and 74 yards.
“I feel like I’ve been playing okay. I could play better . . . I’m not really caught up in how good I’m doing stat-wise. I just want to get better than the week before.”
And Rash believes his team is getting better, just in time for its home opener Saturday (1:05pm) against Florida A&M University.
“We were missing (the mindset of) playing for your brother early in the year. Lately, games have been coming down to the wire because we’ve been playing more for our brother. Now, we’ve just got to clean up our self-inflicted wounds — like penalties — and we’ll have this thing rolling. We’ve just got to keep growing.”
In this era of “transfer first, stay second” thinking, Rash said even at his lowest point, he never thought about leaving to play for another school.
“I have a championship pedigree. I came here as a winner and I want to leave here as a winner. I want to be one of the ones who helped turn Grambling around. When it gets tough, there’s no need to quit and go someplace where things are good. I live by the quote ‘You judge a man in times of conflict and struggle.’ Like right now — what better time to help the ‘G’ get back on the map and get back to its winning ways?”
Contact Tony at SBJTonyT@gmail.com