NATCHITOCHES — Opening preseason football camp is always exciting, but this one is special for the Northwestern State program as new coach Jay Thomas and his staff welcome 95 players who will report Saturday afternoon and begin practice Monday.
“You always look forward to camp, but this year, it’s like Christmas. You get to open packages, so to speak, when you see the new guys coming into camp for the first time,” Thomas said.
“It can’t get here fast enough. It’s a fun time.”
Thomas, hired in December, begins his seventh season as a head coach, his first since 2009 when he was at Nicholls State. He was defensive line coach for the Demons in 2010-11.
The first two days of camp include meetings, equipment pickup, physical exams and conditioning checks before practice begins at 3:30 p.m. Monday. More than two dozen newcomers will join the veterans as workouts begin.
“We want to bring them back slowly, get them acclimated to playing football again,” Thomas said. “Obviously they’ve all been training and working out hard summer, but not in a structured football environment, doing football drills,” said Thomas. “You’ve got to get the rhythm, the timing, all the terminology, and get used to where all the stations are in practice.”
ULM set for first practice
In Monroe, the Warhawks made their way to campus Friday in advance of Saturday’s first practice of fall camp.
ULM will kick off its season Aug. 31 at Oklahoma.
The home opener, against Grambling, is slated for 6 p.m. Sept. 7.