By Craig Haley, FCS Executive Director
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Welcome to Five-a-Side - five questions, five answers. This is a Q&A feature with an influential person in the FCS, and runs at the beginning of each month.
Grambling State coaches are used to being in the shadow of the school's legendary Hall-of-Fame coach, Eddie Robinson. This season, the Tigers football team will try to emerge from a different shadow, the one cast by reigning Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Prairie View A&M.
Grambling State is more accustomed to the favorite's role. Third-year head coach Rod Broadway's job is to spring an upset with a Tigers squad that went 7-4 last season - subpar given the program's high standards.
Broadway led Grambling State to an 11-2 record and the SWAC championship in his first season in 2008. This season, a lot depends on the status of quarterback Greg Dillon, who is seeking a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA. The university is expecting word from the NCAA this month.
Let's kick off:
TSN: What questions were you able to answer during the spring?
RB: We had a good spring and I think some guys made some tremendous improvement in a lot of areas. Of course, we've got a lot of improvement to continue to make in a lot of different areas. Overall, I thought it was a good spring and we've got to get a lot better during the course of fall practice.
TSN: Obviously, your league often is closely bunched and Prairie View had a great season last year. This season, you'll be a little more of the hunter instead of the hunted. Can you talk about that dynamic?
RB: We're just trying to go and get better and try to win some football games. Hopefully, when the smoke clears we can be in this thing at the end. I don't know about hunted or being hunted or all that other stuff. When you win, like Grambling's won, you always have a bull's-eye on you and everybody takes a pretty good shot at you, so you've got to be ready to play every week. That can be a difficult situation sometimes.
TSN: You have one of the best defensive players in the FCS in defensive end Christian Anthony. He's done so much. What can he do to get even better?
RB: A lot, actually. There's always room for improvement. Even the guys that have been All-Pro for 20 years, there's still a lot of room for improvement. Definitely, there's a lot of growth that Christian needs to make. Mentally, he needs to understand the position a little bit better. He needs to be more disclipined and fit more into the overall package of what we do. But he has a chance to be a really outstanding player.
TSN: What is the difference between having Greg Dillon back at quarterback and having to break in somebody else?
RB: We'll just have to adjust what we do because Greg gives us an opportunity to do a lot more things. If we go with somebody who is a less experienced quarterback, of course, we'll have to simplify it and rely on our running game. Get our running game going a little bit more and then open it up for the quarterbacks and not put them in positions that we put Greg in.
TSN: How good can this season be for your program?
RB: Like everybody, we're very optimistic at this time of year, and we think we have a chance of having a good football team. At this game, especially at this level, if you get one or two (key) injuries, it changes the whole outlook of your football team. I do know this: whoever wins this conference will be lucky and good. Because you've got to be lucky to stay healthy.