NATCHITOCHES – Brad Laird gathered his Northwestern State football team around midfield just before noon Friday and laid out his expectation for Saturday’s first scrimmage of fall camp.
“I want to see great energy,” the excitable Laird emphatically told his players.
After wrapping up their first nine practices of camp, the 2019 Demons will hit the Turpin Stadium turf in a game situation for the first time Saturday morning, taking part in a 9:15 scrimmage.
“(Saturday is) huge,” Laird said. “(Friday) was preparation for it. We went through a lot of situations, especially offensively. We went through end-of-game situations an ended up in a two-minute situation.
“We had a field goal to win it where we had to work the ball down the field, use timeouts, and center the ball where the kicker wants it. We’ll be able to incorporate that those into live situations (Saturday).”
Those building blocks will come in an intrasquad scrimmage that Laird said he expects to last between 80 to 100 plays. The Demons will go through approximately 15 minutes of individual drills before hitting the field around 9:15 in a scrimmage that is open to the public.
It follows an approximately 90-minute workout Friday in which the Demons continued their weeklong pattern of continuing to add situations throughout practice. Earlier in the week, the focus was more on down-and-distance situations before Friday’s two-minute drill situations.
Throughout fall camp, Laird has stressed consistency from his players and his coaching staff, something that won’t change – for good reason – in Saturday’s scrimmage.
“You want to see consistency, and I know I’ve said that a lot,” Laird said. “You want to see improvement from today to tomorrow. You want to see effort and attitude. What I stressed (Friday) was these preseason games, as we call them, are the closest we’ll get to a live situation before (playing at) UT Martin (on Aug. 29). We have to have that same mind-set in the morning that we are going to have at UT Martin. I look forward to our guys doing that.”
In addition to looking for consistency, Laird said he will keep a watchful eye on his team’s effort and attitude.
“We’re all going to make mistakes – coaches and players,” Laird said. “Just make sure we do it at full speed. That’s where the effort and attitude comes into play. If we make mistakes, make them full speed and learn from them.”