Grambling State’s spring football game needs more fans

GRAMBLING – New football manager Hue Jackson got his first taste of the Grambling State Saturday mood.

The annual Black and Gold Spring Game at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium drew approximately 5,000 fans between tailgating and final spring training. The black team won 7-6 over gold.

“It was great, I would rival anyone else’s spring game, it was awesome,” Jackson said. “I just think it’s because what people expect from our football team… very exciting but I want more, I want both sides of this place filled and it will be. We’re going to put a product on the ground they can be proud of.”

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Grambling showed powerful defense as they held off the attacks scoreless until the final six minutes of the game.

Tyron Hall intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown for the first score to give the black team the lead. Garrett Urban, who kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired to defeat Southern at the Bayou Classic last season, scored an extra run that proved to be the difference.

“I think (the defense is) one of the strengths of our team,” Jackson said. “I think our defensive coaching staff is strong, coach (Cedric) Thornton is one of the best at what he does, that’s why we brought him in.”

With less than two minutes left, Noah Bodden, one of two returning quarterbacks, drove the Gold downfield for a score, the game’s only offensive touchdown, but a missed PAT was the deciding factor.

“Our football team, this was our 15th practice, it’s called the spring game, it’s a practice,” Jackson said. “I’m thrilled to know where we are…I think we’re on track to where I thought we’d be at this stage and at this time.”

What remains unanswered with the end of spring training is who would emerge as the starting quarterback.

“We don’t just have an established quarterback right now, and that’s okay. I have to make that a priority for me and I will,” Jackson said.

Jackson had 15 weeks to get to know the players. Thanks to changes to the coaching staff – three different offensive coordinators, including the short tenure of Art Briles – and the media offices closed except for the first and last, Jackson said the team never faltered.

“This team has been through a lot, I think people still don’t understand, there’s been a lot of coaching changes and they don’t blink,” Jackson said. “That’s what I’m most proud of…it’s the things to me that are more important than anything, these guys overcame it all.”

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