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Old rivals Grambling, Southern look to make positive waves

Last Modified: Monday, August 18, 2014 12:56 PM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

Grambling and Southern Universities always seem attached to one another.

History has them linked with Grambling earning more national fame thanks to legendary head coach Eddie Robinson.

However, Southern has been the program of late to make more positive waves. Both began last year headed in the same direction before the Jaguars turned things around quickly.

Both of the in-state rivals suffered early losses and had those closest to the programs calling either their team or school officials out.

The Jaguars, however, were able to pick themselves up and win the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship. Grambling was not.

Instead, things got so bad at Grambling that players first refused to practice and then play a game, forcing the school to forfeit a road contest at Jackson State.

Making matters worse was the fact it was Jackson State’s homecoming.

Behind the player uprising was what they called poor playing and practicing conditions. Even former Tiger great Doug Williams suffered as he was let go as head coach.

Williams butted helmets with the school’s president over money for the program. Both are no longer at Grambling.

Now there is a new hope for the Tigers, as former McNeese State assistant Broderick Fobbs takes over.

“I look at Grambling as if it is a sick grandmother or grandfather,” Fobbs told the American Press in June. “You come home to help them get better and you don’t leave until Grandma is fine. That’s what I mean by it being like family.”

Restoring pride in the Grambling brand might be Fobbs’ first objective.

“I know what Grambling once was,” Fobbs said. “I know what it can be if we are willing to pay the price.

“Once we were one of the top programs at our level in college football. I want to get Grambling back to that place again.”

The turnaround at Southern was quick.

The Jaguars rebounded from an 0-2 start to finish 9-4 and beat Jackson State for the title under first-year head coach Dawson Odums.

“I am proud of what that group did,” Odums said.

Now the pressure is on Southern, which was picked to defend its league title. That won’t be easy since the Jaguars will have to replaced the league’s Offensive Player of the Year in quarterback Dray Joseph and his top receiver, Lee Doss.

Southern only got two players on the all-SWAC preseason first team. Tackle Anthony Mosley and wide receiver Willie Quinn were so honored on the offensive side of the football.

Grambling did not have a player make the preseason team.

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