Demon offense comes alive in Friday workout
NATCHITOCHES – Slipping on shoulder pads and convening a full team practice Friday morning provided sparks for Northwestern State’s offense to sizzle.
The Demons’ passing game made plenty of connections in team competition during the nearly two-hour workout at Turpin Stadium. The progress, on both sides of the ball, was so good that head coach Brad Laird and his staff later decided to alter their Saturday schedule and have another full-squad morning workout instead of staging the final split-squad practices initially slated to wrap up the first week of preseason camp.
Repairs to a water line on campus Friday afternoon had forced Laird to abandon the split-squad approach and get all 106 players on the field together for the team’s third practice.
“Day one and two was a lot of teaching, and splitting the squad like we did allowed for a tremendous amount of reps,” said offensive coordinator Brad Smiley. “You could slow things down if necessary.
“Today, with everybody together, we were able to go full force and get rolling on our tempo. There were plenty of legs out there and we could shift change, ones, twos, threes, fours and have everybody fresh.”
Pulling on shoulder pads amped the excitement level, allowing for moderate contact, although no tackling until Monday afternoon’s 3:30 full pads session.
“You could see people getting physical with shoulder pads on,” said Smiley. “It was good to watch the first two groups of the offensive line coming off the ball, getting movement, and seeing some of those new tight ends go hit people and find out where they’re going to be in this.
“When you get to a team drill, your drop back passing takes on a whole different dimension. Where we are in our screen games, and the run game, you begin to feel ‘we’re going now, we’re rolling,’ “ he said.
The speed of competition was obviously increased, and so was the energy level.
“A lot of learning is ahead, it’s day three of five days of install, but I loved the tempo this morning,” he said. “The guys had a great attitude, were excited and we had a lot of fun.”
Some of the enjoyment came from contemporary music pumping out of the $1 million videoboard and sound system at Turpin Stadium.
“I love it,” said Smiley. “It keeps the energy up, and we’re going to be playing in front of 100,000 plus on Aug. 30, so this is the start of working on our communication: not just signals, but being able to communicate louder, or more effectively in other ways.”
Next week’s workouts are all at 3:30 on weekdays, with the slate concluding next Saturday, Aug. 11 with a 9 a.m. preseason intersquad game at Turpin Stadium.
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