HAMMOND – With Southeastern Louisiana heading into Thursday’s season opener hosting No. 6 Jacksonville State, former Denham Springs High standout Davion Nassri appears to have made an impression on the Lions’ coaching staff.
Nassri, a freshman, is listed as the team’s backup at weak-side linebacker along with junior Alexis Ramos. They’re backing up Zeke Jenkins, who played fullback his first three seasons with the Lions before moving over to linebacker.
Former Walker standout Josh Cook is also on the Lions’ roster as a redshirt freshman linebacker.
“Davion had a good camp,” first-year SLU defensive coordinator Lance Guidry said at media day Saturday at Strawberry Stadium. “He had a lot on his plate coming in being a freshman, trying to learn, and he did a good job. As we kept going and installing, it got tougher and tougher for him because everything started running together, but he’s going to be a kid that’s going to be a really good football (player) in this program. Cook’s just kind of a steady guy. Hopefully at some point, he’ll get on some special teams or something, but Davion I think’s a kid that will end up being a starter in the future.”
Sophomore Nathan Holliday of Live Oak is listed as the Lions’ starting kicker, while Jason Evans of Denham Springs High is a freshman offensive lineman.
Learning the scheme
With Guidry on board, serving as the Lions’ defensive coordinator after spending the past three seasons as head coach at McNeese State, Southeastern has switched to a 4-2-5 scheme Guidry said fits the team’s personnel well.
“In a 3-4, you’ve got to have certain really good people at certain spots, and sometimes it’s hard to get on our level, so I think the 4-2-5 kind of fits this area of the country and this size of college being in the Southland (Conference),” Guidry said. “You always probably can kind find speed, and that’s what we’re trying to do, put as much speed on the field as we can.”
He’s also hoping the new scheme will help the Lions in during game preparation.
“When I came in this spring, I just tried to build a type of defense to where you have a set of rules and you kind of play within those rules of all the different types of formations and plays you get so that you can play fast,” Guidry said. “…In college football, play really, really fast and the quarterbacks run the ball, whereas the NFL, they don’t go really, really fast and the quarterbacks don’t run, so it’s a different type of mindset, so you have to be able to line up right and play fast and I think you have more flexibility with five DBs and four down linemen …”
Other depth chart notes
Returnee Chason Virgil is listed as the team’s starter at quarterback, while Arkansas transfer Cole Kelley is his backup.
Lorenzo Nunez, who made the move to receiver from quarterback, is behind CJ Turner as the Lions’ X receiver on the depth chart.
The second time around
Greg Stevens is in the second season of his second stint as the Lions’ offensive coordinator, and he’s hopeful the return of several key players on offense, including Virgil, running backs Devonte Williams and Marcus Cooper, who’s recovered from a knee injury that limited him last season and Turner and tight end Bransen Schwebel to lead a deep receiving corps, help the team this season.
“I think we could be very good,” Stevens said. “Offensively for us, it’s all about execution. If we’ll execute and get 11 guys doing the right thing, we could be pretty good offensively.”