HOUSTON, Tx. (KPLC) - In the preseason poll, Nicholls came in as the unanimous pick at No. 1 following back-to-back playoff appearances, meanwhile the Cowboys slide in at sixth which is well below the usual for McNeese.
Despite being ranked sixth in the Southland preseason poll the mood was one of excitement in Houston as the Cowboys are getting closer to the 2019 season and the true start of the Sterlin Gilbert era.
“It’s been good, just living in those transitions and coaching through them," said Gilbert. "Our staff and their families are now settled into Lake Charles as well which helps everybody. We sit 14 days away from camp very excited about that and knowing what we have in front of us.”
Offensively is where the Pokes expect to make plenty of strides given Gilbert’s background. But the main question mark as of late has been about filling the void under center. Following a strong spring and summer, junior quarterback Cody Orgeron is prepared to take the reigns of this Cowboy offense.
“This redshirt junior year has always been in the back of my head since I got to college," Orgeron admitted. "I just knew my time was going to come and it was time to execute and be ready when my name was called. My name is called and I’m ready and it’s going to be a great season.”
“He carries every intangible there is for a quarterback," said Gilbert. "Great leader, highly competitive, glad he’s our quarterback.”
“He’s stepped up a lot to be a vocal leader," senior defensive end Chris Livings added. "When it’s those early mornings and some people don’t want to hear it, you’re going to hear it. Some people need it to get going and I really appreciate that. He’s been stepping up and making strides his self.”
Traditionally McNeese has been known for its defensive play and while the DWA moniker is no more the Pokes return a handful of key pieces to a unit that finished 2nd in the SLC in total and scoring defense in 2018.
“It starts with the little things and being on defense it takes a whole team so everybody has to be pulling their own weight," said Livings. "They can make a perfect play-call but if I’m not running the right blitz I might run into a defensive tackle and then there’s an open gap. Every man has to pull their own weight and at the end of the day realize that they’re playing defense for McNeese State.”
The Pokes are just a couple weeks out from saddling up to begin fall camp and then the countdown to their highly anticipated season opener against Southern will begin.