NATCHITOCHES – The Northwestern State football team wrapped up its first week of fall camp with a twist.
Senior offensive lineman Dustin Burns (right) blocks during a preseason camp workout. Credit: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services
At Friday night’s team meeting, second-year coach Brad Laird announced to the team they would go through their first full-squad workout two days earlier than expected. With that in mind, the Demons’ nearly two-hour workout Saturday marked the first time the squads, who went through split practices Wednesday through Friday, combined and worked out together.
“They were excited for the fact that, once you put everyone together, it’s our 2019 football team,” Laird said. “The first three days, being able to split them was huge. We got a lot of guys reps. For some of them, if you were a two, you got to be a one that day. It was good to see that for three days, but it was good to see the whole team together.”
The Demons put together 19 periods of work, a practice that lasted approximately 15 minutes longer than the previous three workouts of the first week of camp.
Throughout camp and his numerous preseason media appearances, Laird has repeated the importance of fast starts and consistency from practice to games. Laird said he saw part of that in his team’s first full-squad workout.
“The early practices have always had that energy and work ethic,” Laird said. “We saw some ups and downs today. We had that energy early, went through a lull and finished strong. That’s one thing we preach – consistency within this football team. Where we are through four days, there’s room for improvement, but it’s definitely a good start.”
Saturday’s workout wrapped up a solid first week for the Demons, who open the season with a 6:30 p.m. kickoff Aug. 29 at UT Martin.
Like many other teams, Northwestern State spent the first week ramping up both execution and installment of offensive and defensive schemes.
“We’re getting a little better,” sophomore quarterback Bryce Rivers said. “The first couple of days, we had some rough patches, but we’re starting to smooth things out.”
With another 12 days of camp, including scrimmages on Aug. 10 and 17, there is plenty of time to build on that improvement, but Laird wants his team to take away things from each workout as he did Saturday.
“(Ups and downs in practice) are no different than a football game,” he said. “That’s a great learning experience. You don’t want to learn that Week 1. I’d rather learn it in practice four of fall camp. It allows us to be able to talk about those situations in practice we have to improve on.”
After taking Sunday off, the Demons return to camp Monday with a single 9:15 a.m. practice with Tuesday’s practice slated to be the first time Northwestern State works out in full pads.
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