Grambling players walk out, skip practice; Interim coach fired

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer

UPDATE (6:16 PM ET): The Shreveport Times reports that interim coach George Ragsdale was fired Thursday and that defensive coordinator Dennis Winston has been named the Tigers' third head coach in five weeks. The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports GSU did not hold football practice for a second straight day Thursday, but that this week's scheduled game at Jackson State is expected to go on as planned.

The good news for Grambling is that its football team is united. The bad news is that they seem to be united against the school.

Following practice on Tuesday Grambling president Frank Pogue, athletic director Aaron James and student goverment president Jordan Harvey all met with the players. It was a meeting that would end abrubtly as The News Star reports the players would walk out of the meeting. Then when coach George Ragsdale showed up for practice on Wednesday, he found himself alone as his team did not.

“Things are rough, and we understand our players' frustration,” Grambling spokesman Will Sutton told the paper. “The president is frustrated, the A.D. is frustrated, the students are frustrated, the alumni are frustrated, so we fully understand our players' frustration.”

The frustration stems from the fact that the team has lost 17 straight games and coach Doug Williams was fired two weeks into the season. Williams' firing was then followed by the dismissal of defensive line coach Ezil Bibbs a few weeks later. Williams' son, D.J. Williams, is a quarterback on the team, and his firing was interpreted as the result of a power struggle between him and president Pogue.

Pogue addressed Williams' firing with the team -- as well as bus rides to places like Kansas City and Indianapolis and the condition of Grambling's facilities -- during the meeting on Wednesday, but his answers reportedly frustrated the players. One player reportedly voiced his opinion using "disrespectful language" before leading a group of his fellow players out of the room.

The school expects the team to show up for practice on Thursday but doesn't know for sure that they will.

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