Grambling State to seek new direction in midst of change at offensive coordinator


State Fair Classic Football Game
Photo: Raymond Holley

Grambling State’s offense is expected to operate a bit differently after longtime assistant Mark Orlando abruptly resigned over the weekend.

Head coach Broderick Fobbs said he met with Orlando on Sunday to discuss the decision. The second-year coordinator indicated a desire to step away and focus on the direction of his life and career.

“There is nobody who has more respect for Coach Orlando than myself,” Fobbs said Monday during the SWAC coaches’ virtual media availability.

Orlando, who has been a fixture within Black college football coaching circles for more than 30 years as part of championship-winning programs in the SWAC and MEAC, said it “was in the best interest” of the team to no longer assume duties as offensive coordinator.

The low-point for the short stint for Orlando at Grambling came during Saturday’s 17-10 loss to Prairie View in the State Fair Classic.

The offense was held scoreless in the first half and only gained 308 total yards in what was a sloppy performance throughout.

Through the first two games, Grambling is averaging 19 points per game and 4.7 yards per play, which ranks sixth and fourth in the SWAC, respectively.

Also read: Mark Orlando steps down as Grambling offensive coordinator, says team ‘deserves a better performance’

The Grambling passing attack — despite its 221.5 overall passer efficiency rating between starter Geremy Hickbottom and backup Elijah Walker — has only accounted for a single touchdown pass in 63 combined attempts.

Despite early struggles with consistency in a limited sample size, Fobbs explained Monday that Orlando did a good job of orchestrating the offense overall.

In 2019 under Orlando, Grambling averaged 29 points per game and finished third among all teams in rushing at 212.2 yards per contest.

“I think Coach Orlando did a good job. If you stay in this game long enough and you coach football long enough, sometimes calls are made and it’s a great call,” said Fobbs. “Sometimes calls are made and it’s not a great call. If you stay in this game long enough, you will be on both sides of it.

“… Of course there are a couple of things that we talked about adding and doing. But at the end of the day, we can’t focus on those things, we have to focus on what’s important in front of us right now and doing that. Because right now the past is not really going to help us.”

Who will replace Orlando has yet to be decided ahead of Grambling’s next game versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

The current options to lead the offense for the remainder of the regular season would include passing game coordinator and quarterback coach Kendrick Nord or offensive line coach and running game coordinator Reginald Nelson.

In 2018, Nelson was the team’s offensive coordinator. As the primary play-caller, Grambling ranked fifth in the SWAC in yards and total touchdowns and third in points per game.

“There will be some things that will change,” said Fobbs. “There will be a couple of things that we will do a little differently. We will assess everything as we go forward with these final games that we have coming up.”



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