Demons eager for Sunday scrimmage
NATCHITOCHES, La – Change has been a constant for the Northwestern State football team dating to the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic in mid-March.
What will not change for third-year coach Brad Laird as his team enters first full scrimmage of fall practice is what he expects to see from his Demons. Northwestern State will begin the roughly 100-play scrimmage at 2 p.m. Sunday inside Turpin Stadium.
“As coaches, you put your plan together where you want to be after five practices, going into practice six,” Laird said. “No matter what season it is, we’ve looked at it that way. For us to have had some live special teams work (Friday), we’ll go to more teaching on Sunday. Everything else will be a full scrimmage. I’m looking forward to putting them in more situations.”
The scrimmage is open to the public, but fans will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing in the stands. Additionally, there will be no post-scrimmage meetings on the fields for fans and players.
The Demons have worked their way through a third of their 15 countable fall practices and plan to hold additional scrimmages on Nov. 1 and 8. Northwestern State currently plans to conclude its fall schedule Nov. 14.
“Our guys are excited,” Laird said. "We were able to put full pads on for the first time Friday, and we did some live special teams. It was good to go out and compete in all three phases, work in some different situations.
“They’ve been consistent with their attitude these first five days. That’s what has really excited me. We moved some things around (Friday) where they had to adapt and overcome. For this group, they’ve adapted to COVID-19; they’ve adapted to hurricanes, so when you throw a curveball at them, it doesn’t faze them. I’m really excited to put it all together for about 100 plays on Sunday.”
The Demons were able to conduct six spring practices and one scrimmage before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down college sports in mid-March.
Sunday’s scrimmage will give Laird and his staff a chance to evaluate where it stands with roughly 60 percent of its fall workouts remaining.
“They’ll continue to learn,” Laird said. “They’ll fly around. There will be mistakes, but they’ll make them at full speed. We’ll get about 100 snaps, taking out the special teams where we do a lot of teaching. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
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