Nicholls State Preview
For Nicholls State to snap its stretch of six straight losing seasons, the first order of business is obvious — the Colonels must get better defensively.
Fifth-year head coach Charlie Stubbs promoted special teams coordinator Steve Adams to defensive coordinator after the Colonels allowed 43.3 points and 494.4 yards per game (270.8 rushing, 223.2 passing) and surrendered 50-plus points in five games and 49 in another.
Nicholls' woes weren't limited to defense as the Colonels ranked dead last in the eight-team Southland Conference with 26.8 points per game.
In addition, the Colonels were last in the SLC with a negative-17 (12-29) turnover margin.
Still, there were some positives in the 4-8, 1-6 season. Coming off of consecutive 1-10 campaigns, the Colonels got off to a 4-2 start, including a 33-21 Week 6 victory over Northwestern State which snapped a two-year conference drought.
However, the second half of the season was a disaster as Nicholls lost its final six games, five by 20 points or more.
Experience and depth are plentiful at quarterback as junior Tuskani Figaro and seniors Kalen Henderson and Beaux Hebert started at various times last season.
Playing in 11 games (seven starts), Figaro set the school's single-season rushing record with 1,103 yards and seven touchdowns. Completing 52.9 percent of his pass attempts, the Crowley High product threw for 1,135 yards and eight touchdowns with six interceptions.
Henderson drew one start in six appearances during an injury-marred campaign. He passed for 785 yards, four touchdowns and three picks.
Hebert accounted for 692 yards, seven touchdowns and three picks in nine games (three starts).
Junior Michael Henry (30 carries, 162 yards, 1 TD in 7 games) is the top returning running back. Emerging as a receiving threat late in the season, he caught 11 passes for 123 yards over the final three games. Itawamba (Miss.) Community College transfer Tobias Lofton could complement Henry in the backfield.
Junior Xavier Marcus (17 receptions, 260 yards, 2 TDs) and senior Demon Bolt (14-250-2) are the leading holdover receivers, although a pair of transfers, Hakeem Flowers (N.C. State) and Keenan Canty (Colorado) are expected to contribute.
Senior Nick Scelfo (9-116-1) returns at tight end.
Three veterans — senior left guard Rafe Plaisance, junior center Brandon Holmes and senior right guard Caleb Cline — are the foundation of the offensive line.
Senior linebacker Davin Bovie (78 tackles, 3 tackles for loss), the team's second-leading tackler, junior linebacker Kameryon Brown (66 tackles, 2 TFL) and senior cornerback Byron Cobb (59 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 interceptions) are among five returning defensive starters.
Junior Nick LeBlanc, who sat out the season with an injury, and Colorado transfer Lowell Williams could help solidify the linebacker corps.