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Turpin Stadium to receive new playing surface similar to Super Bowl champs
Jul 06, 2013 | 313 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A new artificial turf playing surface at Northwestern State's Turpin Stadium began installation this week, with the field the same brand used by the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens and Southeastern Conference members Arkansas and Vanderbilt.

The new turf is being installed by Shaw Sports Group at no expense to the university, due to a warranty covering the $337,843 expense to replace the previous surface.

Athletics director Greg Burke and university director of physical plant operations Chuck Bourg said the work should be done by the end of the month, before the Demons' football team reports to start preseason camp on Aug. 3.

The design and appearance of the new turf will match the one used in the past three four seasons, said Burke.

"While having to replace the football stadium turf after four years is not ideal, the subsurface and drainage system that was put in place in 2009 will make this process quick and efficient.  The end result will be a brand new playing surface for the 2013 season which will be a positive for the players and pleasing from an aesthetics perspective," said Burke.

The field is also used by local high schools, Natchitoches Central and St. Mary's, for home football games, along with band practices and competitions and other events.

New Demon football coach Jay Thomas is very pleased with the project and prospects of playing on a top surface in the coming decade.

"The Super Bowl champions use it, so that's a very strong indication of the quality of this turf," he said. "Turpin Stadium is a great venue for fans and for the teams competing here. When I was a visiting coach, we always were impressed coming here. Now we get to take full advantage of those assets in recruiting and this new turf is another great piece for us to sell."

Thomas has committed to returning a significant amount of practices to the grass practice fields to the south of Turpin Stadium, which since Sam Goodwin retired after the 1999 season have rarely been in use except for summer camps. About $10,000 has been spent to top-dress the fields and prepare them for use by players going through voluntary summer workouts this month, along with preseason camp next month.

"We see a lot of advantages to coming back to the grass practice fields," said Thomas. "There's the obvious one of being able to prepare for playing on grass by practicing there. The heat is not as big a factor on grass as it is on turf and based on many years of watching this at the other places we've all coached, we believe it will help us keep our legs a little more fresh."
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