Any other year, Broderick Fobbs would be elbow deep in some crawfish with sausage, turkey necks and all the trimmings, soaking in March Madness and watching his youngest daughter crush the softball.
This, however, is March 2021.
The scene is not as dire as it was a year ago. We’re playing games now, but Fobbs’ Grambling football team is 0-2 in this unique spring campaign, and his offensive coordinator has fallen on the sword, hoping his resignation will help cure the Tigers’ scoring hiccups
Grambling will hit the halfway point of the spring schedule Saturday in Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium, when Arkansas-Pine Bluff visits for a noon kickoff.
“The only way to learn to handle adversity is to be in adverse situations, and this is one of them,” said the Grambling head football coach, who hasn’t had crawfish this year, has no clue about the NCAA Tournament bracket, and relies on his wife’s video of their daughter’s Henry Aaron-style clouts.
In baseball and softball, a fruitless day or a bad stretch can be a temporary malady. In basketball, there’s dozens of games and plenty of ebb and flow in outcomes, or at least quality of play.
“In football, you can’t play your way out of a slump. You have to practice your way out,” Fobbs said in his Monday media Zoom call. “You play once a week.”
Acknowledging 0-2 is tough for any Tiger. Especially when it’s so close to being flipped in their favor.
“We’re 11 yards from being 2-0 –- one yard in the first game, 10 yards last week (a 17-10 loss to Prairie View). That’s football. That’s the margin,” he said. “We’re not down on ourselves. We just have to execute better.”
While Louisiana Tech begins spring practice this weekend, the G-Men try to turn around their season in the second of their two home games this spring.
“Everybody’s building a house and living in it at the same time,” Fobbs said. “Normally you get spring practice and summer workouts before a season, but for all the SWAC programs (and most all in FCS), that’s not happening now.”
Instead, there’s a scoreboard that holds everybody accountable. The focus starts at quarterback, where Geremy Hickbottom had a strong first game and was shaky last Saturday, and Elijah Walker provided a late spark against Prairie View but was far from flawless.
With OC Mark Orlando now an interested observer, Fobbs will collaborate with his remaining offensive staff to shape game plans. Quarterbacks coach Kendrick Nord will call the plays on Saturdays.
Fobbs planned to use both quarterbacks throughout the spring, mindful of the threat of a positive COVID test, or a twisted ankle, and the big picture view of development toward a full fall schedule.
That plan might change. Or may not. But it’s not just on the passers to improve, he said.
“We lost a lot (from 2019) on our offensive line. We’ve got to play better football up front, at quarterback, at receiver, at tight end, at running back,” Fobbs said. “Defensively last Saturday, we played well enough to win. When you can’t score, that’s a huge problem.”
Count on the Tigers taking more shots downfield and calling plays more aggressively, he indicated. He’s counting on the defense to continue producing turnovers.
And he’s banking on a productive practice week to turn the Tigers’ fortunes.
Photo by CARTLON HAMLIN/Courtesy of GSUTigers.com