Cowboys finish spring camp strong

Published 11:20 am Friday, March 29, 2024

It wasn’t the spring camp Gary Goff planned, but it may have worked out pretty well in the end.

Goff, the McNeese State head football coach, wanted to see a lot for his quarterbacks and end with a spring game. 

But Thursday night, as the Cowboys finished their three weeks of workouts, they were down to a scrimmage and one healthy QB. Still, Goff liked what he saw. 

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“Overall I’m pretty pleased,” said Goff. “I’m happy with a lot of what we did and where we are.

“We still have a lot of work to do and a long way to go, but this was good.”

The Cowboys showed more speed from new guys, including redshirt freshman Jamaal Levi, a product of Barbe High School. Levi was forced to sit out last season with a turf toe.

Levi had three catches for 73 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown grab when he caught a short pass over the middle and outraced the defense to the end zone.

“You say how explosive Jamaal Levi is,” said Goff. “I think we can be an explosive offense.”

Levi is happy to be able to contribute.
“I just want to get the ball and do my thing like I always do,” said Levi. “We got speed everywhere. We feed off each other.”

While the McNeese defense won the early portion of the scrimmage, the offense did manage to pick up 516 total yards while scoring four touchdowns in 91 plays. 

During the camp the Cowboys got to see a lot of players and solid competition, but with the injury to Kamden Sixkiller and the exit of Nate Glantz, junior college transfer Alex Flores was the lone quarterback able to play Thursday.

“We did get a good look at Alex,” said Goff. “He and Sixkiller have both had good camps and are in tight competition for the starting job.”

Flores finished 19 of 38 for 237 yards, three TDs and an interception. 

The running game, behind Bryce Strong and Jo’Shon Barbie, was productive. The offense gained 279 yards on 51 runs.

Strong, a transfer from Riverside City College in California, ran for 138 yards on 17 tries, including a 54-yard scoring dash. He also had four catches for 22 more yards.

Barbie, who came on strong at the end of last season to earn a scholarship, finished with 109 yards on 19 carries. He also had two catches for 25 yards.

“I’m much more comfortable this year,” said Barbie. “I have a chip on my shoulder because the coaches believed in me enough to pay for my school.”

He is also impressed with Strong.

“He brings a lot of speed and explosion to our backfield,” said Barbie. 

Flores also had touchdown passes to Jihad Marks and Curtis Deville. Flores found Marks with a 19-yard scoring strike early and finished the scrimmage with a four-yard TD toss to Deville.

Marks and Deville each ended the night with a pair of catches overall.

On defense, Johnquai Lewis had the lone interception. 

“I feel like we have moved the needle,” said Goff. “We are headed in the right direction.”

Goff also said he has four of five guys he would still like to sign, which would also include an experienced quarterback likely from the transfer portal.

Most importantly, the Cowboys came out of camp healthy as they get ready to go back into the weight room in preparation for summer workouts.