As Coach Doug Williams and his coaching staff walked into the rookie comedy show with duffle bags, the G-Men knew what time it was. 252 days after the victory over Alabama A&M that won Grambling the SWAC championship, Williams presented his players the black box that held the precious jewelry.
Last year’s biggest surprise Dawrence Roberts, running back from Clearwater, Fla., admits that he could not wait to hear his named to be called.
“As soon as I got it on my finger, I couldn’t stop looking at it,” Roberts said.
Nat Gilliard of Alpha Jewels designed the championship ring with creative influence from Williams.
“I wanted big bling for them because they deserve it,” Williams said. “It’s a attention getter.”
Once the G-Men had the ring in their possession, it was a race to see who could upload a picture the fastest on Instagram.
“I think Cerdric Goins was first to put his on there,” junior linebacker Jacade Carter said.
Like most new players, Troy Roach, from Houston, watched the moment with a lot of anticipation for the future.
“I want to work hard like them so I can earn my own,” freshman linebacker Roach said.
The “oo’s” and “ahh’s” echoed out of the walls of Grambling Hall as everyone took pictures and posed with their new bling.
“Anyone who is competitive and likes to win would be motivated to get one of those (rings),” projected starting quarterback D.J. Williams said.
Roberts can attests to the motivation that comes when you see others collect their rings, “You have to be crazy if (the ring) doesn’t motivate you to get another one, you have to be crazy not to want to win,” Roberts said.
He joined the Tigers in 2009, the year after Williams’ team of 2008 won the SWAC championship. He remembers sitting back as a red-shirted freshman and watching those Tigers receive their rings. Now that he has one of his own, he can only imagine how the next one will be.
Although one ring is great, the Tigers are dedicated to earn more.
“Winning is addictive,” Carter said. “Once you win you want to keep on winning. You don’t want to stop.”
Winning SWAC has put a huge target on the Tiger’s back.
“We cannot relax,” Roberts said. “We know we have a target on our back this year.”
When you’re the best, teams will do whatever it takes to stop you. That is what makes it so hard to win back-to-back championships. Opponents will build a team just to dethrone the champions by adding trick plays and different schemes to their playbook.
“Coach tells us every day that we are Grambling State and everyone wants to beat Grambling. We get every team’s best effort every week so we can’t afford to have any down games,” said Williams.
Coaches, media and sports information directors from the SWAC have predicted Grambling to win the Western Conference; henceforth, all the teams are watching to see how they perform.
“We are taking it game by game, trying to win every single one, trying to bring another ring back to the small town of Grambling,” Roberts said.