We haven't heard from Louisiana-Monroe football players since April. Here's what they said.
If you want to understand how Louisiana-Monroe is selling its latest football refresh, all you need to do is look at every graphic, pamphlet, poster and billboard scattered around the city.
New coach Terry Bowden is front and center in each instance. The messaging leaves no doubt who this program belongs to.
What you won’t find is any sign of Bowden’s players.
While the Warhawks have toiled in anonymity since Bowden was hired, they’ve accepted the more muted approach. If it means more wins than losses, then it’s a fair tradeoff.
“It’s been good just to have the privacy,” safety Jabari Johnson said. “We’ve come a long way behind closed doors on a daily basis, from early mornings to late nights. Since the spring, the coaches have been pushing us to our max.
“There’s not been one day that they’ve let up on us, so we feel like we’ve come a long way in making daily strides each and every day.”
In their first media availability since spring practice ended, selected ULM players extolled the rationale behind Bowden’s methods. Over 50 new players have joined the roster to create competition. No place on the two-deep is safe with that kind of overall. One bad day could be the difference between the first team and the scout team.
“With the older guys it put a smile on our face,” linebacker Traveion Webster said. “That’s exactly what we needed was somebody behind us that’s going to push us as well. We all need that hand in the back because there are times I need a guy to push me and there’s a transfer guy that’s been through similar things.”
The official roster remains under wraps. It’s a calculated move from Bowden, who wants to keep Kentucky guessing until the season opener in Lexington.
Bowden joked he might keep the roster locked away until kickoff on Sept. 4.
“I really don’t have any reason to do any more,” Bowden said. “We’re going to be evaluating up until the last minute and I’m not going to want to publicize that any sooner than I have to. There’s some unknowns there and I think that’s one of those things where you just don’t want to have to make a decision there publicly until you have to.”
ULM practiced on Sunday following Saturday’s closed scrimmage. The coaching staff met Sunday night to evaluate the scrimmage tape and paring down the best players at each position.
“I’m kind of at that point where I’m used to seeing new faces,” offensive tackle Blake Lodes said. “That comes with the territory. It doesn’t really phase me and I enjoy seeing the new guys. We brought in a lot of new guys in the offseason and they’re making some plays, so it’s good to see.”
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