Five Keys to Beating Nicholls – From the Bird’s Nest
As the Cajuns prepare for their home opener, I found out something I was unaware of.
Nicholls State doesn't like to be called Nicholls State. It's Nicholls, please. And, I'm good with that. I believe a school's athletic team should be called what they want to be called.
The Cajuns are 0-2 for the first time since 2008. And, neither the Cajuns players, the coaching staff or the fans like being 0-2. The Cajuns are a big favorite in this one, but Western Michigan was a big favorite over the Colonels last week, too. As mens' basketball coach Bob Marlin says, "Fear no one...respect everyone."
To get win number one......
GET CHARGED WITH HARASSMENT
Quarterback has been an adventure for the Colonels. Landry Klann was supposed to be the starter, but injured his shoulder and is out for the season. The Colonels entered fall camp with Beaux (son of Bobby) Hebert as the #1 guy, but he suffered a head injury when he was "targeted" by an Oregon player (who was ejected on the play.) That made it Kalen Henderson's turn, and the transfer from Tulsa performed well until suffering a leg injury near the end of the first half of the WMU game. That left it all up to Tuskani Figaro, and the sophomore helped lead the Colonels to the win. Hebert is questionable for this week. If Figaro, a Lafayette native, is the starter, the Cajuns need to get to him early and often and make him do things he doesn't want to do.
GET UNTRACKED EARLY
The Cajuns showed life early in the game against Arkansas, but were slow out of the gate against Kansas State. Nicholls got on top of Western Michigan early and had the confidence to finish. The Cajuns need to get that offense going and try to break the Colonels early.
LINE UP, MAN UP
Nichols won the game last week because of their defense, and that leaves it up to the Cajuns' offensive line to get the job done this week. And, the earlier the better.
THIRD AND LONG
The Colonels don't like to throw it and, when they do, it's usually short stuff to Marcus Washington out of the back field. The Nicholls QB's are mobile and are a threat to run. Figaro hasn't proven he can throw it with consistency. The Cajuns, even if Hebert is healthy, need to put the Colonels in a position where they have to throw it. With the ability of the QBs to run, that means playing good assignment football up front.
GET THE 12TH MAN INVOLVED
The "woe is me" coalition thinks the two losses mean thousands of fans won't show up this week. And, those that do, might have a "show me" attitude. All of that gets forgotten if the Cajuns come out and take care of their business. Play well and make the crowd your ally.
Did you notice I used the word "early" more than once? The Cajuns should win this game. One of the ways to make sure is not to let Nicholls think they have a chance to win.