McNeese State has more than one tight end capable of inflicting damage on opponents.
Kendale Thomas was the Cowboys’ No. 2 receiving target in Saturday’s win over Sam Houston State, catching two passes for 34 yards.
Thomas was also on the field for many of McNeese’s snaps, though it had nothing to do with the health of Nic Jacobs, who remains the Cowboys’ top pass-catcher.
Head coach Matt Viator said he is primarily using Jacobs and Zach Hetrick in double-tight end sets and putting Thomas on the field when using three wide receivers.
“We’ve kind of worked in some situations where when we only have one tight end, it’s Kendale,” Viator said. “He got a couple series the other night, which we have been doing every game. It just so happened that he ended up getting the ball in the couple series he was in. I don’t think it has been any different than what we’ve been doing. We’re just trying to give Nic a little break.”
• THE BOLFING THING: During nonconference play, quarterback Tyler Bolfing saw action on McNeese’s first drive of the second quarter in each game.
It looked as if that practice would end when he didn’t get on the field in the Southland opener against Central Arkansas. But Viator went back to Bolfing to open the second quarter against Sam Houston State.
“What happened at UCA is it was his time to go in, but we had only had the ball twice and were into the wind down seven points,” Viator said. “I felt like the situation we were in was Stroud’s to get us out of. By design, I’d still like to continue to give Tyler a series a game. But I didn’t think at the UCA game was the time to do it.”
Bolfing’s drive against the Bearkats did not turn out as well as planned, as the Cowboys marched backward when he was sacked for an 11-yard loss on second down, leading to a three-and-out.
Bolfing got another drive after that three-and-out. The Cowboys moved from their own 7 to the 32 before three consecutive incompletions — one a drop — ended that possession.
• NEVILLE BROTHERS: The win over Sam Houston didn’t just benefit McNeese in the conference standings and national polls.
Three seniors from Neville High School committed to McNeese after visiting last weekend, a Monroe newspaper reported.
The trio consists of linebacker Ashari Goins, wide receiver Kylon Highshaw and athlete Andre Fuller II.
Fuller had offers from Sun Belt programs Louisiana-Monroe and Arkansas State, but said he wanted to stay with his high school teammates. All three have played together since fourth grade.
“It’s not always about the biggest school or biggest offer,” Fuller told the paper. “Down at McNeese, they’re all about tradition, and we’re all about tradition here.”
• WESTGATE SHOWDOWN: A pair of high school teammates will be a focal point of Saturday’s game at Nicholls State, but they’ll be on opposite sides of the line of scrimmage.
Colonels cornerback Siegan Vergenal will be matched up against high school teammate Diontae Spencer. Both graduated from New Iberia’s Westgate High in 2010. Spencer made four catches for 54 yards last season and Vergenal finished the game with six tackles.
• NIFTY FIFTY: McNeese has 50 offensive plays of 20 yards or longer this season, surpassing last year’s total of 45.