NOTEBOOK: Week 1 vs. Nicholls State

IT'S THE CLASSIC conundrum, and one the Beavs know all too well -- an FCS opponent considered by the masses to be an easy win. Last year's loss to Sacramento State should eliminate any chance the Beavs think they can just show and emerge victorious. That's assuming of course that Nicholls State is able to get to Corvallis at all.

Hurricane Isaac, a Category 1 storm as of 1:30 p.m. today, could cancel the proceedings.

Depending on who you talk to, the chances are either slim or entirely possible. The campus at Nicholls State (in Thibodaux, LA, about 60 miles from New Orleans) is closed and the Colonels haven't practiced since Saturday. The earliest they would be able to practice is Thursday. The hurricane is expected to make landfall on Wednesday.

How long the storm lasts, the storm surge created in its wake -- these are things that can be predicted and guessed at, but no one knows for certain.

Nicholls State is scheduled to fly out of New Orleans via charter on Friday. If the New Orleans airport is closed on Friday due to the storm, one option is to fly out of Lake Charles airport, more than 175 miles from campus. Right now, everything is a go, says the Colonels head coach Charlie Stubbs. But how Isaac plays out over the next 48 hours will ultimately determine if there's football in Corvallis on Saturday.

ASSUMING THERE IS a game, what can the Beavs expect?

Nicholls State was 1-10 and winless in conference last year. They return 14 starters and 52 letterwinners in 2012.

So will they be one of those teams that took their licks a year ago but are now coming into their own? Or are they a team that will play like last year's record?

That too, is another classic conundrum facing the Beavs.

HERE'S SOMETHING YOU don't see every day -- Nicholls State in 2012 is moving their starting QB of the past three seasons, LaQuinton Caston, to wideout. They're high on their junior QB -- Landry Klan -- who made two starts in 2011.

Klann can get it done on the ground, too, rushing for a pair of touchdowns last season in limited play.

Nicholls State runs a multiple set, pro-style offense and their base defense is a 3-4.

UP FRONT, injuries decimated the o-line in 2011 and forced four freshmen into starting duty. Those four former freshmen are now projected starters this season.

The expected starting front five average 295 pounds.

OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH for include tight end Nick Skelfo, (6-4, 245) -- he was named second-team All-Southland Conference this past season, and running back Marcus Washington (5-11, 214) who was second on the team in rushing with 565 yards on 125 carries.

On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Jordan Piper (5-10, 242) was the leading tackler on the team in 2011, with 81 tackles. Others to keep an eye on include DT Edet Udoh (6-1, 315) and DB Siegan Vergenal (6-0, 195).

Punter Cory Kemps, along with Skeflo, were first-team preseason all-conference picks.

Kickoff is scheduled for noon on Saturday on the Pac-12 Networks.

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