UL Lafayette Preview 2006

Posted Aug 8, 2006

How painful must 2005 have been for the Ragin' Cajuns after the way they played over the second half of the season?

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

The program hadn't come up with a winning season since 1995 and only had never been bowling. After a rough 1-5 start with two losses coming on last second field goals against UCF and Arkansas State, there was a five game winning streak with three straight three point wins thanks to freshman RB Tyrell Fenroy and an unstoppable running game.

The loss to Arkansas State turned out to be the difference between the Sun Belt's berth in the New Orleans Bowl and an also-ran season, and there was an inexcusable loss to Florida Atlantic that didn't help matters. Now the team appears motivated and ready to finish off what was started late last year.

Most of the credit has to go to head coach Rickey Bustle, who has carved out a tremendous ground game and has drilled into his team the importance of keeping mistakes to a minimum. ULL only committed 72 penalties, 21 fewer than its opponents, and only 12 fumbles in 531 rushing attempts with freshmen often handling the ball.

Head coach: Rickey Bustle 
4th year: 17-29
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 19, Def. 20, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 13
Ten Best ULL Players
1. OT Brandon Cox, Sr.
2. RB Tyrell Fenroy, Soph.
3. CB Michael Adams, Sr.
4. QB Jerry Babb, Sr.
5. DE Anthony Hills, Sr.
6. OT Jesse Newman, Jr.
7. LB Mark Risher, Jr.
8. QB Michael Desormeaux, So.
9. DT Korey Raymond, Jr.
10. SS Johnny Felders, Sr.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction: coming

9/2 at LSU
9/9 at Texas A&M
9/23 North Carolina A&T
9/30 Eastern Michigan
10/7 at Houston
10/18 at Florida Atlantic
10/28 MTSU
11/4 at Troy
11/11 North Texas
11/18 at FIU
11/25 Arkansas State
12/2 UL Monroe

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 3-8
2005 Record: 6-5

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/3 at Texas L 60-3 
9/10 at Eastern Mich L 31-10
9/17 Nwestern St W 49-28
10/1 UCF L 24-21
10/8 Florida Atlantic  L 28-10
10/15 at Arkansas St L 39-36
10/22 at MTSU W 13-10
10/29 Troy W 31-28 OT
11/5 at North Texas W 31-28
11/12 Florida Intl W 28-7
11/26 at UL Monroe W 54-21

There are more than enough returning starters to hope to be the preseason favorites for the title. Jerry Babb is back at quarterback after missing most of last season, but if he can't go, speedy Michael Desormeaux is more than good enough to run things. The backfield is loaded with rushing talent, the line is big and strong, and the defense should be better with several all-star candidates.

However, this is a flawed team with a complete overhaul needed on the special teams and a passing game that only threw three touchdown passes last season. Even though the end of last season was strong, it took a late comeback to get by MTSU and UL Monroe turned out to be the only decent win of the six.

The talent and experience is there for this to be the Sun Belt's best team, and now it has to show it can handle expectations. If nothing else, the ground attack will be worth the price of admission. The goal has to be Sun Belt title or bust since ...

The Schedule: ... MTSU, North Texas, Arkansas State, and UL Monroe all come to Cajun Field. The Sun Belt road games are at Florida Atlantic, Troy and FIU; ULL has to win at least two of three. The non-conference schedule isn't awful outside of road trips to LSU and Texas A&M. If this is a good enough team to think about the New Orleans Bowl, it's a good enough team to honestly dream about beating Houston at Houston. McNeese State and Eastern Michigan have to be must-wins.

Best Offensive Player: Senior OT Brandon Cox. Either QB Jerry Babb or RB Tyrell Fenroy could end up being the Sun Belt Player of the Year, but it's Cox who's the main cog who makes the offense fire. The 6-7, 330-pound senior will be in an NFL camp next year and could be the team's most indispensable player considering all the depth in the backfield.

Best Defensive Player: Senior CB Michael Adams. He might only be 5-8 and 170 pounds, but he tackles like a much bigger defender and has the speed to make up for his lack of height. He's one of the Sun Belt's best all-around corners and should be in for a big season if Kyle Ward and Torres Kingsby get the job done on the other side.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore PK Drew Edminston and/or freshman PK Tyler Albrecht. Five Ragin' Cajun games were decided by three points last season, and things should be just as tight in the dead-even Sun Belt. Edminston and Albrecht are looking to replace Sean Comiskey and could be the difference between a Sun Belt title and a losing season.

The season will be a success if ... UL Lafayette wins eight games and the Sun Belt title. No one will stop a ground game that has to be good enough to overcome the rest of the team's holes. This appears to be a program about to come of age.

Key game: November 25th vs. Arkansas State. There might not be a closer contested series of games over the last ten years than the ones played by the Indians and the Ragin' Cajuns. Since 1997, these two have played seven times with ULL holding a 4-3 advantage with the four wins coming by three, two, three and three. ASU's wins have been by four, six and three. The winner of this year's showdown will likely win the conference title.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Touchdown passes: Opponents 21 - UL Lafayette 3
- Penalties: Opponents 93 for 774 yards - UL Lafayette 72 for 623 yards
- Sacks: UL Lafayette 23 for 175 yards - Opponents 9 for 47 yards

The Last Time UL-Lafayette…
…played in a bowl game…1970 (Grantland Rice Bowl vs. Tennessee State)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…2002 (UAB)
…was shutout…2002 (North Texas)
…scored 50 points…2005 (UL-Monroe)
…went undefeated…1943
…won a conference title…1994 (Big West)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…never
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2005 (Tyrell Fenroy)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2002 (Fred Stamps)
…had a first-round draft choice…never

Related Stories
UL Lafayette Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 8, 2006
UL Lafayette Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 8, 2006
UL Lafayette Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 8, 2006

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