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Photo by: Shaii Gatlin
Veterans and newcomers collaborate for 2017 season
October 10, 2017
The Nicholls State University football season commenced with the addition of 12 new signees and the traditions that bring the team together as one unit.
After signing large recruiting classes in both 2015 and 2016, Head coach Tim Rebowe approached this year differently.
“Going into this year has been a little different than it has been in the past because we don’t have as many newcomers. This year we only signed 12,” Rebowe said.
Rebowe has continued to build the team up with local talent by heavily recruiting within the region. He said he believes local recruiting is good for the area and that it creates a greater interest in the program as a whole.
“I’ve recently signed some guys from outside the area who are good football players who can fit in with our culture, but I think there are enough good players in this area that we can keep finding success locally,” Rebowe said.
According to senior wide receiver Jarell Rodgers, veteran players on the team play a crucial role in helping newcomers adjust. Rodgers explained that his time as a freshman at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette made him want to contribute to the experiences that new players encounter at Nicholls.
“When I was at UL, I was the new guy and the other guys didn’t embrace me there. I didn’t know what to do or where to go; I was lost,” Rogers said. “Being on the other side of that and now being an older guy, when I see the new guys come in, I just try to go talk to them and make them feel welcome. It’s really just about building chemistry within that first week and helping them through camp.”
Some newcomers also had the opportunity to get acquainted with their new environment while training with some of their teammates at Nicholls all summer. Rebowe said the college football system for incoming players has slightly changed over the years and that more players want to practice together over the summer as opposed to waiting until the report date, when the entire team finally comes together.
“I think the dynamics have changed in college football to where the newcomers are now here during the summer so they’re here working out the whole time,” Rebowe said. “By the time camp rolls around, the guys already know the system and they’ve been gelling and getting that team chemistry all summer.”
Over the past two years, the Colonels have ran a “split-squad” practice at the beginning of their fall camp to introduce new players to the routine the older players already know. In a three-and-a-half hour block, the veteran group and the newcomer group can focus on what they specifically need while they are separated.
“The split-squad practice is unique. It’s a chance for those guys to get a lot of reps,” Rebowe said. “Once you get 105 guys out there practicing, the reps get limited. Now they can all get in the playbook and not just walk through and talk about it, but actually run a bunch of routes.”
Rodgers said the veterans know more than the incoming freshman during the first few days of practice, but after everyone learns the basics and goes over fundamentals, the pace starts to speed up for everyone.
“We have a lot of young talent and I like the new guys,” Rogers said. “I think we have some freshman who are going to play and make it a really good year.”