Cowboys pressing reset button, trying to get back in sync

Published 4:17 pm Monday, September 18, 2023

The Cowboys are ready to press the reset button and block out the outside noise as they try to fix what is clearly broken.

At 0-3 McNeese State head coach Gary Goff is “very, very” surprised at where his team stands in his second year at the helm. Even with 57 newcomers the Pokes were expected to be better this fall.

“We are not playing complementary football right now,” said Goff. “We have to get back to that.”

Email newsletter signup

Any gains the Cowboys felt they made at Florida in Week 2 seemed lost last Saturday night in a stunningly poor performance at Alcorn State. McNeese lost 17-3 and looked completely out of sync in the process.

“We did not go out there and play to our ability,” said Goff. “We stepped back and waited for somebody else to make something happen. We can’t do that.”

According to Goff the Cowboys are still searching to become a team.

“We looked like a bunch of individuals trying to play football instead of a team,” he said. “We have to address that. We have to play as a team.

“We have to make sure we are a true team. If we do that I love the future of this team for this year. We need to have a team, not a bunch of individuals.”

The Cowboys will get one final chance to find their stride before the start of league play this week when they travel to Eastern Illinois  of the Ohio Valley Conference.

McNeese beat the Panthers (2-1) last season in Lake Charles and holds a 3-0 record against EIU. This will be a big test as Eastern has beaten two fellow Football Championship Subdivision clubs.

“We are going to find out people’s character right now,” said Goff. “We have to make sure we come together.

“By no means has anybody given up on this team for this year. We are going to keep coaching this team hard and loving this team hard.”

Goff did say there could be changes when it comes to playing time, stating those who want to be at McNeese and be a part of the team and culture will get their chances.

That includes more young players perhaps getting a shot. Six true freshmen traveled last week with the Pokes and Goff said that number could increase to as many as nine.

That group could include Jamall Franklin, a 6-foot-7, 389-pound offensive lineman who has been out with an injury. Franklin has been cleared to practice this week and McNeese hopes he can add to a struggling line but this week might be too early.

Defensive back Jamori Evans is expected to be back this week.

“We want to play the people who want to be here,” Goff said.

There is more than enough blame to go around for the Cowboys as both the offense and defense struggled against the Braves. That includes the quarterback, Nate Glantz, who threw two interceptions.

He wasn’t helped out by an offensive line that had trouble holding up pass rushers and receivers who dropped five passes. When asked, Goff said he was sticking with Glantz at quarterback.

“Nate is my guy,” said Goff. “I have got full confidence in him. He does the right thing on and off the field.”

While Goff didn’t want to call this week’s game in Charleston, Ill. a make or break one for his club, it is a chance for the Cowboys to get things going in the right direction before returning home to play Nicholls the following weekend.

Goff does believe the program will turn around.

“This place used to be the Taj Mahal of FCS and we have fallen off of late,” he said. “I have full confidence we will get back there.”

Beating the Panthers would help.