No. 25 Tigers keeping busy during unique break in schedule

BY foxsports • October 12, 2016

(STATS) - Though idle last weekend, Grambling State managed to find its way into the STATS FCS Top 25 for the first time this season Monday.

However, it's possible the Tigers won't be ranked the next time they take the field. And it wouldn't be any fault of their own.

In the midst of a second consecutive bye week within the Southwestern Athletic Conference, No. 25 Grambling (4-1, 3-0) is once again practicing to fine-tune its own game while not preparing for any opponent.

"Something I have never been a part of," Tigers coach Broderick Fobbs said. "It's something you have to play the hand that you've been dealt."

"Hopefully this never happens again."

It actually did happen to the Tigers in November 2013, the year before Fobbs took the job.

Grambling, which last played Oct. 1 against Prairie View A&M and won't play again until visiting Mississippi Valley State on Oct. 22, isn't the only SWAC school affected by this unique scheduling quirk. Rival Southern faces Jackson State on Saturday after being idle since its 59-31 win at Alabama A&M on Sept. 24.

Though Fobbs seems none too pleased with Grambling's situation, he's proud of the way his squad has handled things during this unique and somewhat frustrating lull in the schedule.

"Our kids are excited, but they are mature about the situation," he said. "They are handling it the right way. They understand the focus of practicing a certain way."

Last week gave the Tigers a chance to rest and get some banged-up players back to health. Which was more than enough time, according to Fobbs.

"I don't think you need three, four weeks to rest," he said. "These kids are young, their bodies heal fast. I don't think three weeks is the way to go. One week is plenty enough to get quality rest."

This week, the Tigers' focus is on playing smart football, cleaning up any issues and concentrating on bettering the program as a whole.

"Being sharp, transition the right way," Fobbs said. "Playing without making mistakes."

Grambling has looked sharp when actually on the field in 2016. The Tigers rank among the national leaders in all of college football averaging 41.4 points and have won three in a row since falling 31-21 at Arizona on Sept. 10 in a game they led 21-3 at halftime.

Ole Miss transfer DeVante Kincade has thrown for 1,1434 yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions and run for a team-leading 303 with five TDs.

Aside from the loss at Arizona, the Tigers defense has not yielded more than 18 points in any other contest.

That all adds up to a team worthy of its first STATS FCS Top 25 ranking since tabbed 24th in last season's final poll.

Like most coaches, at least publicly, Fobbs won't read too much into the rankings but remains a steadfast champion for the collective talent found in the SWAC.

"I really put no stock into polls," he said. "But I will say this ... as a group, this conference as a whole, it doesn't matter who is ranked. I think this conference doesn't get the respect it deserves."

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