Defeated But Not Downtrodden: Inside the Nicholls State Locker Room

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Kevin Cline

Nicholls State had just lost 66-3.  Oregon had three 100-yard rushers.  The Ducks had a school record 772 yards of total offense.  Yet when quarterback Kalen Henderson and running back Marcus Washington walked into the visitor’s tent to answer questions from the press, their demeanor was not one of a team who had just gotten shellacked, but rather, of players who had moved the ball well and had held their own offensively, despite scoring only three points.

“We were moving the ball pretty well.  When we got into the red after those big plays, a penalty or miscommunication . . . it was always one play that kept us out of the end zone,” Henderson said.

With starting quarterback Beaux Hebert getting knocked out early with a possible concussion, the Colonels seemed to rally around Henderson.  ”The wind was taken out of us after the hit on Beaux.  I tried to pick everybody up, and let them know we were going to finish this game.”  Henderson added “Coming into the game, coach said he was going to play both quarterbacks.  I think his initial thought was that we were going to play separate quarters.  I guess my time came a little quicker than expected.”

Nicholls State QB Kalen Henderson

Kevin Cline

Nicholls State QB Kalen Henderson

With 22 first downs, 256 passing yards and no interceptions, Nicholls State definitely had a pass-first mentality.  Oregon did a decent job against the rush, allowing only 87 yards.  According to Henderson, the strategy was by design, not simply because they were playing from behind.

“Coming into the game, we wanted to throw the football on these guys because we know they can run with the best teams in the country so we wanted to stretch them out from side to side and hit them with runs up the middle.  I thought it worked pretty much, but the red zone killed us today.”

“I think we took the pressure pretty well,” Washington said.  ”We knew coming into this game that Oregon was going to be the best team we were going to face all season, so we tried to do what we can, so we’re going to look at film and build from the positives and work on the negatives.”

“It was definitely a challenge.  Oregon is a great football team.  There is a reason they are No. 3 in the country,” Henderson said.

Despite a lopsided scoreboard, and the fact their defense didn’t force a single punt or interception, the Nicholls State Colonels left the game feeling good about the way their offense moved the ball.  Their play today was far superior to that of a team with only single wins in each of the last two seasons.

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Don Gilman

Don Gilman

Don Gilman is a second-year communications major at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. In addition to writing for FishDuck.com, he has been published in the Roseburg News-Review Newspaper, the UCC Mainstream Newspaper, Bucketlist Publications and is the featured author in the June, 2013 edition of eHorror magazine (under a pseudonym.) In 2013 Don received two awards from the Oregon Newspaper Association's annual statewide college competition: Third place for Best Feature Story and second place for Best Spot Photography.

  • geoduc

    I was impressed with Nicholls. They showed fire and spirit and discipline. They did indeed move the ball against the Ducks and the score could have easily been 52-17. I think they are a program on the upswing. Their runner named Washington reminded me of Chris Polk and their quarterback was impressive as was #27 on defense.

  • hoboduck

    Nice piece Don….could not agree more and I loved Nicholls attitude after the game.

    The game did go as expected with the exception of all the yards we gave up on defense. This game was a nice one to have coming out of the gate. Everyone got a taste of live play and will have reels of film to study. Next week is a much different story. We need to tighten up a bit each game if we actually hope to content for the big one this year.

    I thought the colonels played a great game. The score did not tell all regarding their effort and tenacity. Mr. Washington (#22 running back) is an exceptional player who could play for any (old school) Division 1 team. The backup QB seemed better than the starter.

    As for the HIT. Tough call. I can’t believe that Mitchell intentionally targeted or wanted to injure an opposing player. He is not that kind of baller. What it looked like to me was just what it looked like to everyone else. By rule he’s “out-a here!!” Again, a teachable moment for the team. This rule will impact a game down the road for someone.

    All in all, we have some work to do.

    Go Ducks WTD

    • Randy Snauer

      I was impressed with how hard Nicholls played, the entire game.

      I think that the rule needs to be reworded. I don’t like the verbage regarding “targeting”. It appears to me, that they are going to throw out the defensive player any time there is helmet to helmet contact. If that is the case, fine, just say that. I see no reason to impune a players character, buy saying that a hit is on purpose. How do the officials know what is in the players mind.

  • Dianna Mai

    Oregon’s D played really well, and Come On they played down to the Competition, because in all fairness they could’ve easily put up 100 point’s on these guy’s, and take away those 2 terrible pass interference calls and the Duck’s D keeps em at a 3.8 per yard clip which is pretty good considering. He was looking back the whole time when the ball was in the air and that should of never been called. Their offensive Line was holding pretty much all Game. The reason they only scored 3 points was not because of their miscue’s but because of the Duck’s D. Quit making excuses, because if it would of been the 4th or 10th Game of the year you probably get 100 yards at the most. This is a pretty young Oregon Team full of a lot of Sophmore’s which Bode’s really well for the future of this program if this Team goes undefeated and brings back the hardware because we all know thats the GOAL of the whole Team, not just getting to another BCS, because that would be a let down, seriously! These guy’s want what Alabama has pretty muched owned the last 3 out of 4 years, and their gonna take it this year.

  • hokieduck

    I liked that Nicholls stayed competitive all game, not in scoring but they never dogged it or just played for the $. I was impressed with their effort and thought they did better in the trenches than I would have hoped. I will watch for their scores this year. I think they will win a lot more than one game this season.

    As for the Ducks… good game to go in and get their webs wet. That said, I felt uneasy the entire game. The aforementioned trench battle should have been a lot more lopsided than it was IMO. This little squad had too many 5yd+ plays right up the gut of the defense. I have great hopes for this defense and this was game one which felt more like a good scrimmage. Still, uneasy.

    I did not think the offensive tempo ever really got off the ground. Marcus was “juiced” and I get that but his completion percentage was very low for him. Marshall got to the edge a couple of times but I did not see him devour any linebackers with his alleged Legarrette Blount style. Finally, I groaned and talked to the teevee when Helfrich called TO before going for it on 4th down. The biggest part of Chip’s success with that decision was that the team was ready for it to happen, gave the other side no room to think much less substitute or talk over the defense. I am sure that Chip called a few TOs in 4 years, but I seriously have trouble remembering any and he never called one in that situation.

    So on to the Hoos! Take those preppy, tie-wearing, passed out drunk by halftime silver spooners out back to the shed and whale on ’em. That would give both sides of my avatar-ious psyche great joy!

    Go Ducks. WTD. BEAT the Hoos. And go Hokies (for being as injured as you are right now, but for 3 big plays, you certainly made Alabama look not invincible).