A day full of meetings. Checking in. Receiving gear.
In many ways, Tuesday represented a typical report day for the Northwestern State football team. However, there was a bit of a different vibe surrounding the Demons as they returned to campus.
The return came after a much shorter-than-normal break as most of the team remained on campus throughout June and July.
“It fells different – and that’s a good thing,” sixth-year head coach Brad Laird said. “The investment by the athletic department, starting with (Director of Athletics) Kevin (Bostian), to be able for them to be here this summer with (director of strength and conditioning) coach (Jason) Smelser was huge. Yes, they had a few days off – and it’s good to get back in the swing of things with practice – but you add eight or nine newcomers who weren’t here to the mix. It’s not the report day you’ve felt in the past because of what they’ve done in the summer.”
Northwestern State’s players and staff took part in the report day traditions of hearing from members of the athletic administration, sitting through additional meetings and a meal provided by former NSU quarterback Kaleb Fletcher.
Those meetings only served to whet the appetite for the season.
“I feel like it starts today, but I’m extremely excited,” said junior safety Ronnie Caldwell, entering his second season as a Demon. “I don’t know how it feels to anybody else, but to me it’s crazy that we’re about to start a season.”
While the majority of the Northwestern State roster was on campus since the conclusion of the spring semester, things will ramp up Wednesday at 4 p.m. when the Demons hold their first practice of fall camp.
Like Caldwell, that fact has Laird excited about the start of camp as the Demons prepare for their Sept. 2 season opener at UL Lafayette.
“I’m looking forward to getting these guys on the field, especially after seeing what we accomplished on the field in the summer,” Laird said. “We’re very limited in what we can do in terms of Xs and Os in the summer. Now we get to do it on the field with pads on. That can really jump this football team in a different direction when you talk about team chemistry.”