AN OPPOSING VIEW
ATHENS — Teddy Renois is the man you turn to if you want to know about Nicholls State football. Renois has been covering the Colonels for the last 18 years with the Daily Comet in Thibodaux, La., and has been reporting on sports in Louisiana since 1999.
We reached out to Renois to be this week’s guest for The Opposing View, where we try to find out from an opponent’s beat writer what Georgia might expect that Saturday. You can read Teddy’s stories online at www.houmatoday.com or www.dailycomet.com and you can follow him on Twitter @RenoisTeddy.
Now on to the questions:
1. What would you say is the most notable thing about the Nicholls Colonels? What would you say has been the program’s claim to fame to date?
Renois: “For this season, the most notable thing is the arrival of transfers Ronald Ollie and Marcel Andry and the notoriety from their appearance on the Netflix reality television series ‘Last Chance U.’ Both players will be counted on to provide size and depth to the defensive line.
“To date, Nicholls’ claim to fame is the 2005 Southland Conference title and former All-American and current Baltimore Ravens defensive back Lardarius Webb.
2. Obviously the Colonels are not new to playing Power 5 teams. How have they done in the past?
Renois: “Not very well, Nicholls has played Colorado (2015), Arkansas (2014), Oregon (2013) and Oregon State (2012) and has lost those games by a combined score of 264-13. The closes Nicholls has come in upsetting a Power 5 team was a 35-31 loss to Indiana in 2005. Nicholls actually blew a fourth-quarter lead against the Hoosiers.
3. What is the buzz or level of interest locally about Nicholls playing the Georgia Bulldogs? What would you say the perception of UGA is?
Renois: “With the team starting the season with an open date, there is a huge buzz just to get the season finally started and it would matter who the opponent would be. The perception is Georgia is a very good football team and that it will be a tough challenge just to keep the score close going into the fourth quarter.”
4. What can you tell us about head coach Tim Rebowe?
Renois: “He is an excitable guy who believes in his players and believes he can bring a winner to Nicholls. Rebowe was an assistant coach on the 1996 team that went 8-3 and earned an FCS playoff berth. He was also on staff of the 1995 that went 0-11, so he knows fortunes can change quickly and he has seen it firsthand. I think his best attribute as a coach is he keeps things simple and, because of that, Nicholls made tremendous strides last season in becoming a competitive program again. He inherited a team that had an 18-game losing streak and lost the first five games last year. But it went 3-3 in the final six games.”
5. Can you share some background on QB Tuskani Figaro and what makes him special? And perhaps a couple of other players of interest?
Renois: “He is the only quarterback in the program’s history to both rush and pass for a 1,000 yards in a single season. As a sophomore, Figaro came into the second game of the 2013 season after the two quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart were injured and he went on to rush for 1,103 yards and pass for 1,135 yards. What makes him special is his ability to get outside the pocket and make things happen, but he has improved as a passer also. His father Cedric Figaro was a linebacker at Notre Dame and he played seven seasons in the NFL, so he has an athletic bloodline.
“Senior wide receiver C.J. Bates and redshirt senior left tackle Chris Bordelon are two players to watch on offense. On defense, sophomore middle linebacker Hezekiah White returns as the leading tackler from last season and defensive backs B.T. Sanders and Jeff Hall lead a secondary that was the No. 1 pass defense in the Southland Conference giving up 178 yards per game.
Renois’ Prediction: “Well, I hope after a win over North Carolina the Bulldogs come in overlooking the Colonels and Nicholls could jump on them with a surprising touchdown to give them some early confidence. But I do think Georgia’s talent will win the day eventually. However, I believe the Colonels will score against them, so let’s make the final 49-14 as Georgia calls off the dogs in the second half.”