After enduring a tough season in 2018, the Tigers football team looks to bounce back and play at a higher level in 2019.
Ending last year with a 6-5 record, the team has work to do on both offensive and defensive fronts.
With the addition of new coaching staff, the team is expected to make a complete turnaround from the 2018 season.
The G-Men struggled on both sides of the ball, seeing a drop in the average number of points scored while allowing more points from the defense.
In order to fix the offensive struggles, the Tigers hired new Offensive Coordinator Mark Orlando away from SWAC rival Alabama State University. With more than 40 years of being an assistant coach under his belt, improvements to the playing style and scoring are expected.
Under Orlando using a faster tempo and moving down the field quicker is a major change the Tigers expect will help them adjust their offensive issues and confuse defenses.
In an interview with the Monroe News Star, Orlando highlighted the changes he has made to the offense and revealed how he expects them to play going into the season opener versus University of Louisiana-Monroe (ULM) on Saturday, Aug. 31.
“We go into it and want to play as fast as we can play and execute our offense,” Orlando told the News Star. “It’s a great opportunity against the talent level we’re going against.”
To add to a new playing style, first year running back coach Dre Fusilier is looking to help improve the team’s rushing efficiency.
Originally a signee under the legendary Doug Williams, Fusilier is a former Tiger running back who played under Coach Fobbs from 2014-17 and was a part of the SWAC Championship titles earned in that time.
Producing nearly identical rushing numbers between the 2017 and 2018 seasons, the G-Men still fell behind on scoring drives.
Fusilier told The Gramblinite he wants to work with the players and build up a connection with them and between one another in order to improve their skill levels for better outcomes.
“You have to know your players,” Fusilier said. “Every player doesn’t respond the same to each instruction. You have to know your team and know the best way to communicate and get the best results from each player.”
Heading into the ULM matchup, the Tigers are prepared to show off new signees and the work put in over the summer with a new coordinator. After ULM, the Tigers will take on Louisiana Tech and then delve into nine SWAC contests to complete the season.
Saturday’s game will help set the tone for the season and show the entire conference what the Tigers have worked on in the offseason, hoping to prove they will be solid title contenders this year.