Position battles remain ahead of NSU's second scrimmage

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NATCHITOCHES (KALB) -- After a quick turnaround from an intense Thursday evening practice to a Friday morning session, the Northwestern State football team goes into its second preseason intrasquad game Saturday morning at 9:30 to wrap up preseason camp.

The Demons open the season Thursday, Aug. 30, at Texas A&M. First-year head coach Brad Laird said Saturday morning’s controlled scrimmage action will impact the team’s depth chart as game week preparations are just a few days away.

“We got in 100 live plays, including the kicking game, last Saturday, and a lot of good work this week. We’ve seen positions that have really stepped up in the last five practices,” he said. “This will be a big test influencing the direction we take in several positions next week.

“We’ll have afternoon practices Monday and Tuesday, the mock scrimmage Wednesday night, then start implementing our plan for Texas A&M a week away from kickoff.”

Fans attending Saturday morning's Northwestern State football intrasquad preseason game should enter the university via South Jefferson Street, and are urged to allow extra time to arrive due to traffic restrictions and flow created by "Move In Day" activity on campus.

South Jefferson is the designated entrance for football traffic Saturday morning. It will also lead fans to easy parking on the east side of Turpin Stadium, since construction is continuing on the west side of the stadium due to renovations there that have closed a quarter-mile portion of Caspari Street.

NSU had extended scrimmage competition Thursday evening in the first late afternoon workout of preseason camp. The team returned to Turpin Stadium for a 9:15 Friday morning workout in shorts and helmets, spending 80 minutes on the field.

“We had a quick turnaround this morning, going until after 8 under the lights Thursday night, then up early to work Friday morning, and our guys handled it well, got a lot accomplished,” said Laird.

Among the scenarios presented Friday morning was a competitive period starting with 54 seconds to go, with each team having one timeout and the offense needing a touchdown to win.

“Once again, we had really spirited competition and I was pleased with how both sides handled their business,” he said.

Saturday’s competition will be similar to last week’s intrasquad game, with some “put the ball down” game-like periods, and other situations presented.

“We will incorporate some four-minute situations where we’re trying to run out the clock, and back that up with a two-minute competition and an overtime period. We’ll work some more situations that are likely to happen this season,” said Laird.

The contest will be the Demons’ last workout of preseason camp, with classes starting on campus Monday.

“We’re winding down preseason camp,” said Laird, “a lot of work, a lot of grind, but it’s fun. It’s just us, the players, coaches and staff, and now we’ll break camp and go to class Monday morning with this campus on fire, filled with a record enrollment.”

The team will prepare for classes Sunday by going through meetings with NSU Athletics’ academic support staff, and the university’s Freshman Convocation for the newcomers in the evening.