Demons bring energy during hot, humid Day 1 of camp
NATCHITOCHES, La. (NSU) - Undoubtedly, the Northwestern State football team will face Saturdays where the heat and humidity can be overwhelming, especially early in the season.
With that as a backdrop and a back-of-mind thought, the Demons went through their first workout of fall camp Wednesday afternoon on the broiling Turpin Stadium turf.
“It was hot and humid, but you could tell the guys were out there grinding through it,” senior quarterback Tyler Vander Waal said. “Everyone had that Day 1 energy – that’s what we like to call it. Everyone came out excited and ready to go. Come practice seven it may look a little different, but as a team you have to understand there will be good days and bad days, and you have to find that happy medium. We talk about consistency a lot. We want to be consistently good. This team has that capability.”
Part of that building that consistency comes with the inherent building of chemistry – something the Demons got a bit of a jump start on during summer workouts.
For the second straight season, the Demons have seen a strong wave of newcomers enter the building in the offseason. As such, Northwestern State’s returning players have been thrust into a new role – that of the welcomer instead of the welcomed.
“It’s pretty cool,” said senior receiver Zach Patterson, the 2022 Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year and a first-team preseason All-Southland Conference honoree. “I know the people that were here before me welcomed me in, and I want to do the same thing for the new guys. I want to help them learn the ins and outs of the system and the things that will help us win on Saturdays.”
A year ago, Patterson was on the other side of the newcomer relationship, much like senior safety Peyton Woulard, who took part in his first workout as a Demon on Wednesday.
Unlike Patterson, Woulard had a couple of familiar faces in his new home, joining former Campbell teammate Justice Galloway-Velazquez and assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Weston Glaser, who coached both players at Campbell before coming to NSU ahead of the 2022 season.
He found a similar relationship quickly with his new teammates.
“First day here was great,” he said. “Everyone welcomed me here with open arms. I feel like this team, as a whole, has something special we are working towards. For me, it’s a pleasure to come here and play for Coach Glaser and the rest of the team.”
A native of metro Atlanta whose two previous college stops were in North Carolina, Woulard had to adjust to a new level of heat and humidity.
To a man, Woulard, Vander Waal and Patterson said they noticed the high energy early in practice gave way to a lull about midway through before the Demons rallied to close out the first day of camp on a strong note.
“You hope you start seeing the growth we made in the spring and the summer carry over into the fall,” sixth-year head coach Brad Laird said. “That’s the purpose of the summer. What our guys were able to do in the summer helped them get through some adversity, because it hadn’t hit. You want to know how your team will overcome adversity.
“It’s good to notice when we’re not consistent throughout practice. That’s what we need to continue to build toward.”
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