After failing to repeat as conference champions in 2012, Grambling State spent the majority of the 2013 season mired in losing and controversy.
Grambling State lost its first eight games of the year before outlasting Mississippi Valley State 47-40 in November.
However, the Tigers then lost the final two to complete the campaign a frustrating 1-11.
In total, Grambling had gone 2-22 over the last two seasons, highlighted by the firing of head coach Doug Williams and a team boycott that made national headlines.
GSU heads into 2014 under new head coach Broderick Fobbs hoping to reconstruct the football program and its image that has been under siege.
“These kids are very, very excited about this opportunity to play college football and they were all eager to learn,” said Fobbs, who comes to Grambling from McNeeese State. “They were all at meetings on time and they were all on the practice field early. It was just a great day for these young people to work. They all have great attitudes.”
As from moving past the off-the-field drama that defined the program last season, Fobbs has to take on the task of overhauling a team that brings back 78 players to open camp that was left much to be desired in every conceivable measurement.
The Tigers were at or near the bottom in every offensive and defensive category in 2013. They ranked ninth in total offense and 10th in total defense.
D.J. Williams, who led the Tigers to a championship in 2011, and junior Johnathan Williams, are expected to battle for the starting job in spring camp.
D.J. Williams, if he wins the starting job, will look to improve on passing numbers that were pedestrian from a year ago. Just 114 yards per game was his average in the air – that has to be rectified if Grambling is to compete in the wide open SWAC West.
“It’s been a weird transition with the offense,” D.J. Williams said following this past Saturday’s spring scrimmage. “I feel like we have the talent and weapons outside, and everybody we’ve got can run the football.”
The defense, which allowed 38.5 points per game and 487.1 yards per game, should be aided somewhat by the return of defensive stalwarts Jevonta Williams and Tyler Oliver.
But, in the end, it won’t be any easier for the Tigers as they open up with six consecutive road games to start the regular season.