Here comes the rain again, Mother Nature interrupts first day of full pads

Published 8:00 am Friday, August 13, 2021

By Jim Gazzolo

Special to the American Press

On the first day of full pads, Mother Nature reminded the Cowboys that she is still very much in charge.

A heavy downpour accompanied by thunder and lightning cut the McNeese State football practice short by 25 minutes Thursday. Perhaps it was a way to come full circle for a team that has seen more than its share of weather woes over the last 12 months.

“We can deal with the rain but we don’t mess with the lightning,” said head coach Frank Wilson.

The Cowboys got in eight full plays after going through individual drills. It was enough to make the players happy.

“We were able to come out here and hit,” said All-American defensive end Isaiah Chambers. “It’s what we love to do. We put the pads on and get physical. We have been waiting a long time to do that.”

Chambers has dominated drills and scrimmages in camp, making it tough at time on the offense.

“He is a beast,” said quarterback Cody Orgeron. “It is hard to get things done when he is right there every time you turn around. But he is not alone, that is a very good defensive line.”

It is that type of work Orgeron said will make McNeese better when the games roll around.

“We have to get better to play against them,” he said. “You can tell they are making our offensive line better already. I think they are the best defensive line we will face.”

That might be a bit of a stretch considering Week 2 the Cowboys travel to Baton Rouge to play LSU, but camp is all about raising expectations.

Wilson made a point to say that the weather did nothing to slow the workout, though some of the players were hoping for a light rain to cool off a hot morning.

B3

“We did get a lot of work in,” Wilson said. “The kids were excited to get all their pads on and come out here. We got to see them go against each other a little.

“Competition is a big thing.”

It was the first time Wilson was able to have a camp in which there could be a lot of physical play.

In the spring season, injuries and opt-outs dictated what McNeese could by the number of healthy bodies. That made it tough to physically keep the team fresh and prepared, he said.

Wilson, who is in his second year as head coach, has seen everything come into focus after a solid offseason of workouts.

“There is a big difference in our energy and how fast we are practicing,” he said. “That’s exciting to see. We are ready to go.”

McNeese will have a light workout today, with players in shells (helmets and shoulder pads). At noon Saturday inside Cowboy Stadium Wilson will conduct the first of two scrimmages.

“We will get a chance to see where we are at,” he said.

The Cowboys will open the season on Sept. 4 against West Florida, the defending Division II national champion. In their last game of the spring the Cowboys played Sam Houston State, which went on to win the Football Championship Subdivision national title. In Week 2, McNeese will take on 2019 Football Bowl Subdivision national champ LSU, which went 5-5 last season.

That’s three consecutive games against recent national champions on three levels.

Of course, all that can only happen if Mother Nature agrees.