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Thursday, May 25, 2017
Southwest Louisiana ,

Avoiding injuries key to building depth

Last Modified: Wednesday, August 06, 2014 1:42 PM

By Alex Hickey / American Press

Man, despite his penchant for cruelty, has evolved over the past two millennia.

Human sacrifice in front of a huge audience has, for the most part, been phased out.

But remnants of the ancient tradition still remain. The Colosseum still stands in Rome. And Nicholls State continues to throw itself to the lions of college football.

The Colonels will once again be armed with squirt guns as they march to the Western Front under fifth-year coach Charlie Stubbs, playing three nonconference games at Football Bowl Subdivision opponents for the third consecutive year. This time the money game murderers’ row is Air Force, Arkansas and North Texas.

“We play the games to win,” Stubbs said. “But to tell it like it is, we’re bringing a whole lot of money into this university. We’re not paying just for this football program. We’re paying for a lot of the other sports at Nicholls to exist. But we have to come with our A-game. I want to play these games and these young men want to play these games.

“But the concerns are confidence and injuries. I went through four quarterbacks last year. We’ve got to weather that storm.”

Things don’t get much easier for the Colonels, who were 4-8, 1-6 in the SLC last year, once conference play starts. Their first two Southland games are also away from Guidry Stadium as they visit perennial title contenders Central Arkansas and McNeese State.

Nicholls’ lone home game before Oct. 11 comes against Division II Henderson State in Week 3.

Despite all that, improved depth has Stubbs beating a drum of optimism heading into the season.

“The thing that’s been holding our program back is when injuries happened to our team we went from maybe a senior starter to a freshman real quick,” Stubbs said. “That’s not the recipe for success.

“If we sustain ourself through injuries we can be a really competitive team. I really feel like midseason or later there will be a whole lot of people wondering ‘Where did Nicholls get this young man from?’ because I’ve got some players.”

The Colonels, who lost their last six games of the 2013 season, need to improve on both sides of the ball if its lot in the conference standings is going to. Last year Nicholls ranked last in the league in scoring with 26.8 points per game, while the defense rated seventh by surrendering 43.3 points and 494 yards per game.

HICKEY’S PICK: 4-8, 3-5 in Southland.

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