2022 schedule, coaching changes and QB battle: NSU storylines heading into SLC Media Day
NATCHITOCHES, La. (KALB) - The Southland Conference Media Day will be held Wednesday, July 20 down in Lake Charles, where eight schools will speak to the media, including Northwestern State.
The Demons have some work to do in 2022 as Head Coach Brad Laird enters his 5th season with the program with just a 12-28 record. Since 2018, Northwestern State is just 1-7 in non-conference games with the last win coming against Grambling in Coach Laird’s first season.
After a full off-season following playing two seasons in the 2021 calendar year, NSU will start off with a tough non-conference schedule, including the season-opener against Montana, followed by Grambling, Southern Miss, Eastern Illinois and SEMO.
“I hesitate to say unique, but it certainly brings you three teams in Montana, Eastern Illinois and SEMO who are outside your region that you don’t get to see a lot,” said Jason Pugh, the Sports Information Director at NSU. “A lot of different eyes will be on the Demons and a chance for them to come out and impress especially with that game starting out against Montana.”
The Demons’ schedule recently was tweaked when it was announced that Lamar was leaving the WAC to come back to the Southland Conference after just one season and then UIW deciding the stay in the conference. This ultimately forced the conference to have to replace NSU’s game against McNeese State with UIW putting a temporary halt to a rivalry with the Cowboys that has been played every year since 1951.
“When you try to add somebody completely new for six games seven weeks ahead of the season, I think they did a good enough job to get a schedule out but I also know that there was going to be some frustrations,” said Pugh. “We did play McNeese three times in eight months going back to March of 2021, but that doesn’t take away the 70 years of tradition, and it doesn’t make it any less important to play that game.”
NSU is also expected to have a quarterback battle in the fall that could continue into the first few weeks of the regular season. Senior Kaleb Fletcher started seven games last fall, leading the team in passing yards with 1,313. Sophomore Zachary Clement received significant playing time at the end of the season appearing in nine games and starting four of those.
For Northwestern State, Pugh said only three coaches remain on the staff that has more than one year of experience with the team. This includes a new offensive coordinator in Cody Crill and a new defensive coordinator in Weston Glaser.
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