Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
Stubbs: We can't help UA
Nicholls State head coach Charlie Stubbs, center, directs his players against Air Force in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game at Air Force Academy, Colo., on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
FAYETTEVILLE -- Nicholls State will play Arkansas in football for the first time Saturday, but Colonels Coach Charlie Stubbs has plenty of experience against the Razorbacks.
Stubbs has played Arkansas five times as an assistant coach at Alabama, Tulsa and Memphis, with his teams going 1-4, including 0-3 at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Nicholls State (0-1)
Aug. 30;at Air Force;L 44-16
Sept. 6;at Arkansas
Sept. 13;Henderson State
Sept. 20;at North Texas
Sept. 27;at Central Arkansas
Oct. 4;at McNeese State
Oct. 11;Stephen F. Austin
Oct. 25;at Houston Baptist
Nov. 1;Incarnate World
Nov. 15;at Northwestern (La.) State
Nov. 30; Southeastern Louisiana
Nicholls State at Arkansas
WHEN 3 p.m. Saturday
WHERE Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville
RECORDS Arkansas 0-1, 0-1 SEC; Nicholls State 0-1, 0-0 Southland
TV SEC Network
As Alabama's offensive coordinator from 1998-2000, Stubbs went 1-2 against Arkansas, losing 42-6 in 1998 and 28-21 in 2000 in Fayetteville.
"I can remember how great the fans were, how loud they were," Stubbs said. "Just an electric atmosphere. A great stadium.
"Our young men will be highly excited to be part of something like this."
Arkansas is the first SEC team Nicholls State has played, and Stubbs said he'll draw on his experience to help prepare his players and coaches.
"It's Southeastern Conference football, and it's not just the crowd, but it's the caliber of athlete you're playing against," Stubbs said. "It will be a first-class situation."
Nicholls State, a Football Championship Subdivision team in the Southland Conference, opened the season with a 44-16 loss at Air Force while Arkansas lost 45-21 at defending SEC champion Auburn.
Despite Arkansas' loss, Stubbs said it was impressive watching the Razorbacks' speed and athleticism. He said the challenge of playing Arkansas may be "insurmountable" but that he always goes into a game believing his team can win.
"There's a lot of mismatches, but you coach them up and you try to give them a chance, give them things that we can do," said Stubbs, who has a 10-36 record in his fifth season at Nicholls State. "We're working so hard on improving our execution, and hopefully we're able to put some plays together and gain some confidence and progress from there.
"It's our job to make it a great game. We're preparing hard to do that."
Nicholls State is 3-21 against FBS teams since 2000, beating Arkansas State 28-21 in 2001, Rice 16-14 in 2007 and Western Michigan 27-23 last season.
"I always tell the guys, the Colonels can't beat the Colonels," Stubbs said. "Arkansas sure doesn't need our help, so we've got to take care of the football and stay away from penalties.
"If Arkansas makes a mistake, we've got to make them pay. If their defense blows a coverage or one of their assignments, we've got to exploit it. If they make a mistake throwing the football, we can't just knock it down, we've got to pick it off.
"Then we've got to make something happen on special teams."
Senior quarterback Kalen Henderson competed 12 of 25 passes for 136 yards against Air Force and linebacker Davie Bovie had a team-high 11 tackles.
The game was tied 9-9 in the second quarter before the Falcons took a 23-9 lead into halftime and pushed it to 44-9 in the fourth quarter.
Stubbs said the Colonels need to break down the game into short segments.
"I tell our kids, 'Don't look at the whole game, let's just look at series or quarters,'" he said. "At the end of the first quarter, where are we?
"It would be our wildest dreams if we're in that fourth quarter and within striking distance to win. That would be awesome."
Sports on 09/03/2014