Clark, Demons eager to host Lions Saturday evening
NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State senior Lyn Clark can hardly wait for Saturday evening when Southeastern Louisiana visits Turpin Stadium, although he knows patience by the Demons is vital when defending the Lions’ option running game.
NSU, hoping for its’ first 2-0 start to Southland Conference play since 2005, is aiming to top SLU for the first time since 2011.
A key in the outcome is how the Demons’ Purple Swarm defense, under first-year defensive coordinator Brad Laird, fares against an explosive Lions option game. SLU (1-3 overall, 1-1 in the Southland) ran for 366 yards last Saturday in a 49-21 homefield win over Lamar, posting 555 total yards, with running back Darren Johnson getting 176 yards rushing on 18 carries.
Clark, a defensive end, knows NSU (1-2 overall, 1-0 in the Southland) can use all the practice it can get to prepare for the scheme it will face from SLU. The Demons got a head start during three workouts last week before enjoying their open date last Saturday.
“The challenge for us is to stay disciplined, read our keys,” he said. “Do what we’re taught, not what we thought.”
NSU has shown progress defensively under new coordinator Brad Laird. The Demons held Lamar to 370 total yards and cut down drastically on missed tackles, failing only 10 times compared to an average of 23 in the first two contests.
Clark had two sacks among his five tackles in the Lamar win. The Purple Swarm collected 10 tackles for lost yards, including five sacks.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the defense as a unit,” said Clark. “We have our bumps in the road along the way, but we have a great chemistry out there. We come to work every day, and the work environment is great. The best thing about it is being out there with those guys and having fun.”
A New Orleans native and O. Perry Walker High School product, Clark relishes the opportunity to line up against the Lions, whose campus is slightly over an hour from his home. He appreciates the history between the two programs, which dates back to 1935, with SLU holding a 31-29 edge.
“It’s a rivalry game. This is what we signed our scholarships for, to play in these type games, in this environment, at home,” he said. “I get chills thinking about it. It’s Southeastern. That’s all we’ve got to say.”
The game will be carried on Cox Sports Television, available on cable systems in Louisiana and 13 other states. Where CST isn’t available, access to the telecast is through ESPN3.
NSU goes on the road for its next two outings, at Nicholls (Oct. 7) and at Sam Houston State (Oct. 14) before the annual homecoming game Oct. 21 against Central Arkansas.