If you haven’t done so already, please also check out our Rice and Texas Tech previews!
The turnaround of Grambling football in the mid-2010s under HC (and GSU alum) Broderick Fobbs is criminally overlooked. Fobbs inherited a program that forfeited a game due to a player boycott the year before he arrived and by his 3rd season (2016) won the SWAC title and Celebration Bowl.
From 2015-17 the Tigers had a 32-6 record, played in or won the SWAC championship and finished in the top 25.
Sustaining that success has been a challenge, as the Tigers went 12-10 in 2018-19 and an unceremonious 0-4 in the 2021 spring season.
Fobbs made major changes on his offensive staff after the spring, bringing in Eric Marty (previously HC of CA Juco: Reedley College) as OC/QB coach and Bryant Ross (previously asst. OL coach at Louisiana-Lafayette) to coach the O Line.
The first task is replacing multi-year starting QB Geremy Hickbottom, who grad transferred to Tennessee State. I expect junior Elijah Walker, who split reps with Hickbottom in the spring season, to take over as starter.
Super senior Lyndemian Brooks led the Tigers in rushing yards during the spring and moves to WR, which leaves freshman CJ Russell (one of the top rushers in Louisiana HS history) and sophomore Kellon Elder as the best rushing options. Figuring out the rushing attack will be key after Grambling averaged a paltry 129 rush yards/game in the spring.
Along with Brooks, seniors Darrell Clark and Kobe’ Ross, plus senior TE Dorrell James should be the top receiving options for Walker.
The biggest task on offense is fixing an offensive line that allowed 18 sacks in 4 spring games. The good news is every offensive lineman who started a game in the spring is back.
The Grambling defense wasn’t much better in the spring, as 2 of 4 Grambling opponents rushed for well over 200 yards each.
Getting to opposing QBs was challenging, and the Tigers only managed 4 sacks in the spring.
Junior LB Bryan Powell led the team with 4.5 TFLs and tied for team lead in 1.5 sacks, and the 3 regular defensive line starters return.
Additionally, junior S Kenan Fontenot and junior CB Devanir Martin return in the secondary after tying for the team lead in pass breakups. Fontenot also led the team in solo tackles.
This game shouldn’t challenge UH, but Grambling definitely looks like a team (and head coach) at a crossroads in the SWAC.