Cowboys show improvement: An article by Jim Gazzolo
By Jim Gazzolo
Quietly, Gary Goff’s second spring at McNeese has gone well.
While the spotlight for the last month has been shining on Will Wade’s hiring, Goff and his staff have gone about their business in the shadows.
That’s just fine with all of them as they want to secretly sneak up on the rest of the Southland Conference next fall as well.
However, if you were watching you would have seen a much different looking Cowboy team over the last month.
McNeese’s official offseason workouts ended last Saturday with the annual Spring Game, which was won by the White team 38-21.
Forced to start down 14-0, the White team, made up of likely starters, had the game tied by the end of the first quarter.
That is a very good sign for a team that struggled on offense last fall.
“We are light years ahead of where we were a year ago,” said Goff. “It is the difference between night and day.”
McNeese is clearly better at quarterback, in the secondary and has a stable of running backs to count on. This is a much deeper team with much more talent.
“We took a big step today, but we have more steps to take,” said running back Josh Parker.
No place do the Pokes look better than at quarterback were both Tre Simmons and Nate Glantz had their moments.
“Tre did some great things, Nate did some great things,” said Goff.
Glantz finished 10 of 16 for 111 yards while Simmons went 8 of 15 for 140. Glantz hit Jonathan Harris on an 8-yard scoring pass to start the day and then found Jalen Johnson for a 17-yard score.
Simmons had a 75-yarder to D’aneglo Durham on a screen pass that went the distance. Durham broke a tackle early and then raced down the left sideline just before the half.
Simmons had a 31-yard scoring strike to a wide-open Johnson in the fourth.
There were some bad moments as well for each as both threw interceptions. Still, it was good that the offense seems to have more weapons than the year before.
Maybe the biggest difference of all is the fact the Cowboys have numbers this year unlike in the recent past. That has led to a much more competitive spring camp, which has made for better practices and much more improvement.
The team looks bigger, faster and stronger. And it is relatively healthy.
There is also more help coming for McNeese as the rest of a very solid recruiting class shows up on campus sometime over the summer. That will only add to the depth.
It is the nest step in the rebuilding process for the Cowboys and perhaps the biggest one to date.
Jim Gazzolo is a freelance journalist who covers McNeese State athletics and is the host of Poke Nation on CBS-Lake Charles