Monday, May 20, 2024

College football: Comprehension, retention on NSU coach’s mind for Saturday’s scrimmage

by Russell Hedges
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By Jason Pugh, Northwestern State Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations; featured photo by Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services

NATCHITOCHES – Little has been normal for the Northwestern State football team in its first spring under first-year head coach Blaine McCorkle.

That should change Saturday morning at 9:30 when the Demons take the Turpin Stadium field for their first full scrimmage of spring practice after a week that was altered by weather.

The Demons’ off-schedule week came after a lack of personnel led to a shifted schedule a week ago where the Demons moved most of their scrimmage-based workout to a day earlier than originally scheduled.

“It will be a good time, and we’re excited to get out there,” McCorkle said. “It’s been an interesting week with all the weather that has come through. We were hoping to go Monday and Wednesday, but with all the lightning that has come through – you can’t fight lightning  — we’ve gone Thursday and Friday. It jams the back of the week up, but we’ll have everything done that we need to in order to have a good showing.”

The biggest hurdle presented by the weather that dumped a considerable amount of rain in Natchitoches and the surrounding areas from Monday through Wednesday did not come on the field.

It came in terms of teaching, a factor that is especially important for a staff that is primarily made up of new faces to NSU.

“You go three days in a row (of practice) all the time during the season,” McCorkle said. “Spring affords you a little time where you have days between. We go Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, so those Tuesdays and Thursdays are valuable for our staff to slow down, evaluate some film, make some personnel decisions and meet with the players. You can teach at a slower pace in the spring, which is good because we’re putting everything in brand new. We’ll be able to get it all in by Saturday and be ready to go.”

Saturday’s scrimmage follows a split scrimmage situation from a week ago where the Demons put most of that work in Friday before focusing more on the kicking game in Saturday’s workout.

This weekend’s full scrimmage will give McCorkle and his staff another chance to evaluate how the players have handled the installation of new schemes on both sides of the ball.

He praised his team’s effort and energy during its first scrimmage scenario. When Saturday morning arrives, McCorkle will look for more.        

“A level of comprehension, who is being coachable, who has the ability to learn, comprehend and go execute what we ask them to do,” McCorkle said. “The thing we asked them to do the first day of spring practice was to do what you’re asked to do to the best of your ability. Now that you’re on Day 9, 10, 11 of spring practice, all the install starts to mount up. Things go in every day. Stuff starts to pile up on you.

“Can you still do that? Can you retain information and do what you’re coached to do and do it at a high level? We’re trying to identify the guys who can do that, because that’s what we’re going to be doing in the fall when it’s time to play.”

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