BIRMINGHAM, Ala . — When Grambling offered him the job as head football coach, former Tigers player Broderick Fobbs didn’t wonder what condition he would find the program in when he arrived.
“It never really crossed my mind,” Fobbs said Friday at SWAC media day. “When momma calls, you come home. You don’t think about what state the house is in.”
The 2013 season was one of unprecedented controversy for Grambling. The program fired legendary former Grambling quarterback Doug Williams as its coach, then midseason players boycotted their game at Jackson State in protest of their substandard workout and practice conditions and the appointment of George Ragsdale as interim coach.
Grambling went 0-12 last season, including the forfeited game at Jackson State. Not surprisingly, the Tigers were picked to finish last in the five-team SWAC West Division in the conference’s preseason poll released Friday.
Players and coach alike are eager to start fresh and build the program back into the one that has won 24 SWAC championships and 14 black college football national titles.
“Last year is out the window,” senior cornerback Tyree Hollins said. “We had a voice, and it was heard.”
No Grambling players were named to the preseason All-SWAC first or second team. Hollins said that and their predicted finish will serve as motivation.
“Definitely,” he said. “We feel we have a ton of athletes.”
“We do have some depth,” Fobbs said, “a lot more in some areas than some others.”
Since returning to Grambling from a one-year stint as tight ends coach at McNeese State, Fobbs has tried to preach a positive outlook as he prepares his Tigers to begin what will be an arduous climb.
“When you start running, the first mile is the hardest one,” Fobbs said. “After that it’s easier to do. Our mindset is we want to be great. We’ll take care of the little things first.”
The Tigers open the regular season Aug. 30 at Lamar.