Monday, May 20, 2024

College football: Quality reps on the menu for NSU’s Joe Delaney Bowl

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 – Quality reps will be on first-year Northwestern State football coach Blaine McCorkle’s mind when the Demons gather for Saturday’s annual Joe Delaney Bowl spring game at Turpin Stadium.

The Demons will hit the field at 10:30 a.m. Saturday with action starting approximately half an hour later.

“We’ll probably go 30-35, maybe 40 reps,” McCorkle said. “It won’t be long at all. Depth at a few positions doesn’t allow us (to go much longer). We’ve operated most of this spring with four defensive line, which makes it tough. They can only go so many reps. I think we have eight offensive linemen and five or six wide receivers on a given day, depending on who’s healthy. Numbers as a whole are pretty good, but there are some positions where we need to monitor those reps and not get anybody hurt. We’ve been relatively healthy this spring, and we need to finish it that way.

“There will be a chance for everyone to see what we look like. Everybody will get a chance to get in and get some good reps before we shut it down for a good summer with (strength and conditioning) coach (Jason) Smelser, because the fall will be here before we know it.”

While the depth has been challenging throughout spring practice, McCorkle has been pleased with the steps his team has taken as it wraps up spring practice ahead of summer workouts and fall camp that will lead into the Demons’ Aug. 29 season opener at Tulsa. 

A week ago, the Demons went through the first full scrimmage of the spring where the NSU defense stood out. What transpired across the following practices led McCorkle to appreciate his team’s ability to process information and make adjustments.

“We talk about playing complementary football,” he said. ‘Regardless of what happened last Saturday, there has been a lot of good complementary football throughout the spring. A lot of people talk about it having been a full scrimmage, but there are a lot of scrimmage elements throughout spring. We’ve seen a lot of those things before the scrimmage and since then. It was a good day to see a lot of film and to do a lot of teaching. The defense had a really good day then had another good day in short yardage (on Tuesday), but the offense responded. It was good to see people respond from the things that were corrected on film.”

While the Demons have worked around their numbers issues in certain positions, they have remained relatively healthy, something McCorkle said he hopes continues Saturday morning.

Additionally, the Delaney Bowl gives McCorkle a platform to say thank you to his team’s supporters.

“There are a lot of alumni coming back, and I look forward to meeting a lot of folks I haven’t had a chance to meet yet,” he said. “Hopefully they continue to support us the way they have. A lot of people realize where the program is right now, and that encouraging mind-set and positive spirit is contagious. That’s exactly what our kids need right now. They need to know people are behind them and believe in them. They know it’s been a tough go lately, but we’re headed in the right direction.”

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