‘An opportunity to figure things out’: NSU hoping for answers during bye week

The best time to figure a few things out for Northwestern State is to have an open date. The Demons will not suit up this weekend due to a bye week.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 10:42 PM CDT
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NATCHITOCHES, La. (KALB) - The best time to figure a few things out for Northwestern State is to have an open date. The Demons will not suit up this weekend due to a bye week.

The start of the season for Head Coach Brad Laird and his staff has been a little rough. The toughest obstacle for three weeks has been finding consistency in all three phases of the game.

“I think it is always tough,” said Laird. “Especially, when you look at your schedule at the beginning of the year and you see open dates. You do not know where your team is going to be at that particular time. I do know the bye week is going to give us an opportunity to figure some things out.”

The first three weeks for the Demons’ locker room can be described as a roller coaster, and the host of Fork Em Podcast, Blair Bagala, shared thoughts on the program this season.

“With Louisiana Tech and UL-Lafayette, it is understandable to lose to them, even though you like it competitive,” said Bagala. “They have more scholarships and limitations that we do not have, but then Stephen F. Austin comes in, our rival, who plays in the same division as we do. They humiliated us from the start, and it is concerning because it is one thing to lose, but it is another thing to not be competitive. The thing that concerns me the most is that we are not even trying to be competitive right now.”

Northwestern State was able to put a few points on the board the last few games, and during the Louisiana Tech matchup, the coaching staff was able to see what could be from Demons’ quarterback Tyler Vander Waal’s run game.

The Purple Swarm showed that they could create havoc during the UL-Lafeyette game and Louisiana Tech game by creating takeaways, but things went south when Stephen F. Austin stepped into Turpin Stadium.

The Lumberjacks took a 21-0 lead in the first seven minutes of the game, and they went on to win 41-7.

The defense has given up 88 points in the last three matchups, and the Demons’ have been outscored 130-41.

“We will have an opportunity this week to look back, not just at the X’s and O’s, but a lot of things within this program that we have to get better,” said Laird.

The Demons are currently averaging just over three yards per carry, and the injury bug has come out to play. During last week’s matchup against the Lumberjacks, Vander Waal went down with multiple injuries. There is no word on the condition of his injuries.

“From talking to people from Southeastern, Nicholls and Stephen F. Austin, we are the easy one on their schedule,” said Bagala. “Everyone tells me they are not worried about Northwestern. Teams are coming into Turpin Stadium expecting an easy win and that is not a good place to be at.”

The Demons started 0-3 last year before beginning conference play with four straight wins.

Northwestern State will be back in action at home against Eastern Illinois on Saturday, Sept. 30.

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