MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The Grambling State Tigers football program has had one roller coaster of a ride over the last few years. But this year, the team is in the running for a national championship.
"I wouldn't say that we're back just yet, but I will say that we're pointed in the right direction, and we're closer to what we once were," said head coach, Broderick Fobbs.
The Tigers headed to Atlanta Wednesday to prepare for the Celebration Bowl, otherwise known as the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) national championship. Newscenter 11 caught up with the team when it stopped for a meal in Meridian.
The Celebration Bowl will be Grambling State's biggest test this season as it battles North Carolina Central University this weekend.
The thought of Grambling playing in this type of game seemed like a long-shot to fans not too long ago. Just three years ago, Grambling football players boycotted and refused to travel to Jackson State because of issues with university leaders and facilities.
Coach Fobbs describes their road back to success as not an easy one but he believes they're headed in the right direction.
"We had to learn how to compete again, and then ultimately how to win," said Fobbs. "But then how to forget about winning. Because just like forgetting your failures in life, you have to also forget the things you do well, because in order to do well the next time you have to forget about previously what happened."
Now their eyes are on claiming another championship.
"We just want to continue this process," Fobbs said. "Win this football game and play extremely well on national television and bring it home."
Grambling State plays NCCU Saturday at 12 noon in the Georgia Dome.