Southern football coach Dawson Odums says his team is ready to square the Bayou Classic at 20 wins apiece.
“I have 20-20 vision, and hope to get to 20 Saturday,” Odums quipped to a host of organizers, fans, alums, and media at the annual Bayou Classic press conference Tuesday on the floor of the Superdome.
With a win Saturday over Grambling, Southern can tie Grambling with 20 wins each in the rivalry game played each year but one in New Orleans since 1974.
The game was played in Houston in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.
Last season, Odums was the interim coach at Southern. He replaced Stump Mitchell who was fired early in the season. Southern won the Bayou Classic 38-33, snapping a four game Grambling win streak in the series. Odums got the job, fulltime.
This season, Grambling fired head coach Doug Williams, endured a player boycott, and got its first win of the season earlier in November against Mississippi Valley State.
Grambling’s interim coach is former Saint Dennis “Dirt” Winston. Winston recalled a moment in the Superdome in 1984. He said those Saints are much like his current Tigers.
“The first Monday Night game against the Saints I intercepted a pass against my former team,” said Winston. ” Took it back for a touchdown, and we won that football game. Saints first win on Monday Night Football. I kinda see this kids in that same situation.”
Southern has won 7 games, 6 in league play. The Jaguars have already clinched a spot in the SWAC championship against Jackson State.
Odums said there will be no letup from his team Saturday.
“I talked to our guys about it yesterday. I was in defensive meetings, and I told our guys that Florida and Florida State are playing, Auburn and Alabama’s playing, and you are right on that same stage because of the importance of the rivalry that we have,” said Odums. “It is important to the fans, and the institutions. It is important to win this game, and that is where our mind is, and our focus is.”