2014 Louisiana Preview: What You Need To Know
Louisiana-Lafayette QB Terrance Broadway
Louisiana-Lafayette QB Terrance Broadway
Posted May 27, 2014

Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know About Louisiana-Lafayette (Getty Images)

2014 Louisiana-Lafayette Preview

What You Need To Know...

- 2014 Louisiana-Lafayette Preview 
2014 Depth Chart & Unit Rankings To Come This Summer

What You Need To Know About The Offense: The hope is for more of the same under offensive coordinator Jay Johnson, only more of it. The Ragin' Cajuns have been balanced and explosive over the last few years, and they have the potential to be even more dangerous this year with eight starters returning including an all-star backfield trio of QB Terrance Broadway and RBs Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire. The offense took a wee step back in overall production last year, but everything should bounce back up again helped by a potentially dominant line and with veteran receiver Jamal Robinson stretching the field. Few attacks will be better on third downs and almost no one in the Sun Belt will be as efficient.

What You Need To Know About The Defense: Defensive coordinator James Willis improved things a little bit last season, but the defense still needs to be better in pass coverage and needs to be more consistent. With seven starters returning, including a great-looking front four, there should be more production against the run, but generating pressure is a must to help out a secondary that allowed 243 yards per game and allowed way too many midrange plays. Replacements at linebacker are needed, but this is an aggressive, good-hitting D that should be a bit better. As long as it's not awful, and as long as it comes up with enough stops to let the offense do its thing, it'll be fine.

Players You Need To Know

1. QB Terrance Broadway, Sr.
While he throws a few too many picks, and he wasn't always steady, he was the catalyst for the offense and now provides the senior leadership for a team with the skills and ability to win a conference championship. At 6-2 and 221 pounds, he's a big, thick player who can pound a little bit for the running game, finishing third on the team with 442 yards and eight scores, while he completed 62% of his passes for 2,419 yards and 19 touchdowns with 12 picks. The emotional leader as well as a star playmaker, he suffered a broken arm late last year, but still made it back to play in the bowl win hitting 12-of-19 passes for 143 yards, but two picks. Smart, tough and efficient, he spreads the ball around well, and now with his experience, he has to cut down on the mistakes – his three interceptions in the loss to ULM were a killer.

2. RB Alonzo Harris, Sr.
At 6-1 and 238, Harris got a lot bigger and bulkier over the last year. Playing at 216 pounds throughout most of last season, he came up with an all-star season running for 942 yards and 14 scores. The lead back in the attack, he might not be a receiver, but he handled the ball 21 times or more in four games in a five-week stretch – all wins – proving to be at his best as part of a rotation handling the ball around 15 times a game. Not a blazer, he's best when he gets to blast away on the inside as the tone-setter blaster.

3. RB Elijah McGuire, Soph.
Alonzo Harris might bring the thump, but it's McGuire who provides the flash. The 5-11, 198-pounder got the call as a true freshman after leading Louisiana high school football with a 2,603-yard senior season as a spread quarterback. Fast, he averaged 8.38 yards per try running for 863 yards and eight scores on just 103 carries, while catching 22 passes for 384 yards and three touchdowns averaging 17.5 yards per play. Not a workhorse, he's not going to carry the load, but he'll change games around by himself.

4. OG Daniel Quave, Sr.
The 6-3, 324-pound pounder brings the bulk to the power part of the ground game at guard, able to play on either side. One of the best run blockers in the Sun Belt, he's a huge hitter who can punish and blast away. Very smart and very strong, he's the big key to the ground game and the one the team likes to work around.

5. NT Justin Hamilton, Sr.
A massive 6-3, 310-pound run stopper, he turned into the anchor of the defense a few years ago, but he also proved to be a strong pass rusher as well. A force who's physical for the interior, he led the team in forced fumbles in 2012, and backed it up making 38 tackles with four sacks and nine tackles for loss last year. Playing at 330 pounds early in his career, he slimmed down a bit and should be even quicker to get into the backfield. Even so, his job will be to shine as an all-around factor in the interior and star against the run.

6. S/CB Trevence Patt, Sr.
A good-hitting corner, the 6-0, 197-pound veteran worked at corner for most of last season, making 57 tackles with a pick and a team-leading 12 broken up passes, but now he'll see more time as a safety using his experience, range and 6-0, 197-pound size to do a little more against the run. A strong safety early in his career, he's more of a free safety with great speed and the ability to roam, but no matter where he plays, he'll be one of the team's top tacklers.

7. CB/FS Sean Thomas Sr.
The team's third-leading tackler, he's not all that big at just 5-10 and 170 pounds, but he can pop making 63 stops with a team-leading three picks. He started out the season making a slew of big plays with 13 tackles against Arkansas and nine against Kansas State, but with his size and speed, he's better suited at corner. Able to play anywhere in the secondary, he'll be more of a corner, but could quickly move back to safety to add more speed to the mix.

8. OT Mykhael Quave, Jr.
The line needed to undergo a bit of a shift last year, but the veteran grew into an even bigger part of the great ground game. At 6-5 and 295 pounds, he's a tall blocker with a great frame – he's tough to get around. Able to play almost anywhere on the line, he started out his career at guard, but with his quickness, size and athleticism, he's better for the outside.

9. DE Dominique Tovell, Jr.
Built a bit more like a bit linebacker than a true defensive end, the 6-2, 248-pound veteran started as a linebacker early on, but he's more of a hybrid as a Buck defender, being asked to be a disruptive force in the backfield and make plays in space. The team's second-leading tackler, he came up with 67 stops with two sacks and 12 tackles for loss. He turned it on over the second half of the season with 3.5 tackles for loss against New Mexico State, three against WKU and 2.5 against Georgia State in a five-game stretch, and was steady against the run throughout the year.

10. DE/DT Christian Ringo, Sr.
The hope was for Ringo to rise up and become the team's superstar pass rusher to pick up the slack for some key departures, especially after generating seven sacks in 2012, but he ended up making just 16 tackles with a sack in a banged up year. At 6-1 and 288 pounds he's built more like a tackle and an interior presence. Ultra-quick, he has the potential and skill to be a leader up front, but he has to stay in one piece.

- 2014 Louisiana-Lafayette Preview