LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A new coach, the proximity of the schools, and the expected crowd— all factors that make Saturday’s season opener against Southern, McNeese’s most anticipated opener in recent memory.
The hype surrounding Saturday is unlike any other but the Pokes aren’t really letting any of that interfere with their preparation and it all comes down to just one thing.
“Focus, that’s really all it is," McNeese defensive end Cody Roscoe said. "We have to depend on the man next to us and just focus on the game and focus on the scheme and executing it.”
“We just block out the noise and put the blinders on," McNeese quarterback Cody Orgeron said. "We come to work every single day and don’t change our mindset. It doesn’t matter if the game is sold out or if there are ten people at the game, it doesn’t change how we come to work and how we come to practice every day. We’re going to come and play our best every single snap.”
Another layer of the story leading into the Saturday regards the Jags coaching staff. Former McNeese players and coaches Wayne Cordova and Charlie Ayro now roam the sidelines in Baton Rouge and will make their returns to ‘The Hole’ on Saturday.
“College football is a business," Orgeron added. "I understand they had to go coach over there for business-like reasons. It’s a business but there’s no fire at all.”
“At the end of the day it’s football. Even though Coach Ayro and Coach Cordova are guys we respected here when they coached us, we just come out and play football at the end of the day,” said Roscoe. “Those personal relationships don’t really matter once the ball is snapped. You just have to come out and play.”
All that's left to see is if the game will live up the hype going into it. The Pokes and Jags will kick off under the lights in just three days.