There comes a point in every preseason camp where the team simply has an off day.
Sometimes the execution isn’t right. Other times the players lack energy or have their attention distracted on outside factors, like school starting or incoming weather.
After 12 days of camp, Nicholls football hit that wall.
“I didn’t think it was a great day today,” coach Tim Rebowe said. “I told them I thought it was really an average day to below average. I don’t know, maybe it was fall camp Day 12 hit them. We tried to do a little bit of live stuff today, get a couple snaps if we can. But we were not as sharp. We put the ball on the ground. We have to get the snaps. We didn’t get the calls.”
Rebowe said he wasn’t too worried about one bad day as long as it doesn’t continue going forward. It’s not unusual for a team to slip a bit toward the middle of camp when they start itching to play a real game.
Rebowe praised the Colonels efforts on just about every day prior to Wednesday’s slip, including this past Saturday’s team scrimmage. Nicholls went a full week without a day off before taking Sunday to rest and go through regular meetings.
Wednesday was a scheduled day in full pads. Nicholls will go in shells on Thursday and just helmets on Friday leading up to Saturday’s scrimmage and annual Fan Day.
“I told the guys we cannot take a step back from here on,” Rebowe said. "We have to get ourselves back together. Maybe they started looking at Saturday and next week. Sometimes you get to this point and you have to refocus and stay in the moment. I don’t know if we did that today.”
Another horse in the stable
With three starting-caliber running backs already on the roster, the last thing Nicholls needs is yet another player looking for carries in the offense.
And yet freshmen John Carrington III might just be a fourth option in the backfield.
Out of San Antonio, Carrington looked good the first few weeks of camp whenever the ball isn’t getting handed off to starter Dontrell Taylor or backups Kendall Bussey and Julien Gums — or, for that matter, when quarterback Chase Fourcade keeps it for himself.
Carrington led all running backs during last Saturday's scrimmage when he pushed his way for 75 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. He is the only player other than wide receiver Dai’Jean Dixon to reach the end zone during the roughly 100-play exhibition.
Carrington is listed at 5 foot 9, 185 pounds.
“There’s always enough room for guys that give tremendous effort and they know what they’re doing and they make the plays when it’s their time,” Rebowe said. “John is having a good camp. He’s pushing those guys. He still has a ways to go in certain things. But we love his attitude, we love his effort and we love what he brings to the table.”
The problem is that Nicholls already has plenty of options at running back with Taylor leading the group after galloping his way to 990 yards and a second team All Conference pick in 2018. Bussey also ran for 563 yards, while Gums totaled 544.
But regardless of what Nicholls goes this season, the future of the position may be set. Taylor and Bussey are set to graduate this year. Gums is only a sophomore.
Watching the watch lists
Nicholls quarterback Chase Fourcade was added to another preseason watchlist this offseason when the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) named the senior to its FCS National Performer of the Year Trophy watch list.
Fourcade was named to the watch list as a junior last year as he led Nicholls to a conference championship. On the year, he threw for 2,930 yards and 21 touchdowns, while adding 13 touchdowns on the ground and 659 yards rushing.
Earlier this summer, Fourcade was placed on the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award watch list and was a HERO Sports Preseason All-America Third Team selection.
All FCS players are eligible for the award. The award winner will be announced January 15, 2020.
Fan Day and Cook Off
The annual Fan Day event and football scrimmage is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at John L. Guidry Stadium.
The event features the Huddle Up! Cook Off, Fun Run, and 5K/Walk. Fall student athletes, including football, soccer, volleyball, cross country and cheerleaders, will have a meet-and-greet where they will hand out schedule posters and sign autographs.
The day will and with the football team's scrimmage at 7 p.m. Admission to Fan Day and the scrimmage are free of charge.
The Huddle Up! Tailgate and Cook Off will be open to the public at 3:30 p.m with a $20 admission ticket. The ticket includes all food and drinks in that area. In addition to the events, the Good Feelin' Band is also scheduled to play at 3:30 p.m in the tailgate and cook off area.