There’s a new feel to “The Hole” in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Cowboy Stadium known as “The Hole” has seen many players come through. From Kerry Joseph who spent time in the NFL to Ford Smesny who is currently a coach at his alma mater, Dayton High School. Change is something the McNeese program has adapted as the new norm. When I first started covering McNeese in 2019, Sterlin Gilbert was the head coach. Since then took the helm as head coach. During his tenure, the entire Lake Charles and its surroundings went through two back-to-back hurricanes. As said before, change is something that isn’t new for the Cowboys. When Wilson took over, the same message was presented. He was there to win. With that being said, Wilson’s tenure at McNeese was not long. He spent two seasons before departing for a job with another program. The perennial powerhouse that is LSU signed Wilson in another capacity. With a 7-11, 5-9 record in the Southland Conference the promises of winning were not matched. Given the sudden departure of Wilson, Athletic Director Heath Schroyer began the search for his new coach. He selected Gary Goff, someone who is very well respected and helped guide Division II Valdosta State to the Division II National Championship. From the start, Coach Goff has embraced the community and brought with him his vision of how he believes the Cowboys program should be run.
On Saturday, April 9th at 10 am the annual spring game will take place. The new offense will be on full display. Goff and his coaching staff have been implementing this new style since the first day of spring camp. Players to watch include wide receiver and return specialist Mason Pierce out of Pearland Dawson High School. Also transfer Knox Kadum from Virginia Tech looks to be on point in running Goff’s offense. After last weeks scrimmage, the Cowboys ran about 50 total plays between offense and defense.
They also flipped local athlete Dillon Simon to the defense. Simon, a local athlete from Lake Charles College Prep has been a member of the Cowboys as a quarterback. As a cornerback Simon shined. He even earned recognition for his play from Coach Goff.
On the offensive line, redshirt junior Nick Holiday looks to return to help the Cowboys. I sat down and spoke with him.
What are you looking forward to the most this fall?
I’m looking forward to being able to see how much improvement we’ve made compared to the past couple seasons. The coaches have come in here with a great mindset due to their previous success and the culture of our team is improving. This is because the coaches are holding everyone to such a high standard in order to achieve greatness.
What is it like being in a new system under Coach Goff?
Learning new systems is always tough at first since sometimes the whole offensive scheme changes. There’s different terminology, techniques, etc. involved in all of that but when everyone is on the same page and clicking it’s going to be a lot of fun for everyone involved.
What personal goals do you have?
Also the goals for this season is to win a conference championship. After achieving this, going to the FCS Playoffs and making a run at the national championship. I believe we’ve had the talent, we just need to put it all together and make a run.
The Cowboys open up the 2022 fall season on the road at national runner-up Montana State on Saturday, September 3, 2022. The final spring game is set for Saturday, April 9, 2022 at 10 am from Cowboy Stadium. The public is welcome to come.