2007 UL Lafayette Preview

Posted Apr 18, 2007

Is this the year UL Lafayette finally breaks though and becomes the powerhouse Sun Belt team it's been so close to becoming? With a great running game led by Tyrell Fenroy, this will be a sleeper team worth watching.

UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

Preview 200

By Pete Fiutak

- 2007 ULL Offense Preview | 2007 ULL Defense Preview
2007 ULL Depth Chart | 2006 CFN UL Lafayette Preview 

No Sun Belt team is more due and more ready to finally break out and go bowling than UL Lafayette.

Agonizingly close over the last two years to being in the bowl mix, ULL went 6-5 in 2005 with a dominant second half of the year winning the final five games, and then had a winning 2006 season and a post-season spot all but secured before getting blasted 39-20 by rival UL Monroe. Now there’s no excuse not to do even more and crank out one of the team’s best seasons ever.

Head coach: Rickey Bustle 
5th year: 23-35
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 22, Def. 19, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 16
Ten Best ULL Players
1. RB Tyrell Fenroy, Jr.
2. QB Michael Desormeaux, Jr.
3. OT Jesse Newman, Sr.
4. PK Drew Edmiston, Soph.
5. SS Lamar Morgan, Sr.
6. LB Brenton Burkhalter, Jr.
7. C Chris Fisher, Soph.
8. DE Rodney Hardeway, Sr.
9. DT Korey Raymond, Sr.
10. WR Derrick Smith, Jr.

UL Lafayette
CFN Prediction:

Sept. 1

at South Carolina

Sept. 8


Sept. 15

McNeese State

Sept. 22


Sept. 29

at UCF

Oct. 6

North Texas

Oct. 13

at Arkansas State

Oct. 20

Florida Atlantic

Nov. 3

at Tennessee

Nov. 10

at Middle Tenn

Nov. 17

at FIU

Nov. 24

UL Monroe

2006 Schedule
2006 Record: 6-6

9/2 at LSU L 45-3
9/9 at Texas A&M L 51-3
9/23 N. Carolina A&T W 48-7
9/30 Eastern Mich W 33-13
10/7 at Houston W 31-28
10/18 at Florida Atlantic W 6-0
10/28 MTSU L 35-21
11/4 at Troy L 42-28
11/11 North Texas L 16-7
11/18 at FIU W 17-7
11/25 Arkansas State W 28-13
12/2 UL Monroe L 39-20

It’s not too tough to set the bar high at a place that’s only won more than seven games twice since 1973 and has never gone to a bowl. With most of the key starters returning on both sides of the ball including all the stars in the Sun Belt’s best rushing attack, the Ragin’ Cajuns will be among the favorites.
Michael Desormeaux is one of the league’s best all-around playmakers able to run as well as any back and potentially good enough to make a few plays here and there with his arm. While he’s not going to light up the passing charts, if he can be a little more efficient, and junior Tyrell Fenroy builds off his 1,193-yard, ten touchdown season, the offense should be dangerous. Now it has to be consistent.
It’s one thing to get shut down by Texas A&M and LSU, and it’s another to only manage six points against Florida Atlantic, seven against North Texas, and average just 18 points in conference play. The Sun Belt defenses aren’t that good.
The defense has been aggressive, but mediocre over the last few years. It should be in the middle of the pack again this season even though it’ll be among the league leaders in sacks and run defense. That might be enough to keep shootouts to a minimum and let the offense take care of pulling off wins.
With a brutal stretch of five road games in six, it’s not going to be an easy road to New Orleans. Even so, the team might be just good enough to overcome the adversity.

What to watch for on offense: The zone-read offense will run even more effectively. Tyrell Fentor and Deon Wallace form a solid 1-2 rushing attack, while Michael Desormeaux is one of the league’s best running quarterbacks and should make better decisions after two years in the system. However, if he’s not throwing more effectively to stretch the field, the ground game won’t be as good as it could be.

What to watch for on defense: Good play up the middle. The Ragin’ Cajuns have a nice defensive core to build around with productive tackles Korey Raymond and LaQuincy Williams, linebacker Brenton Burkhalter, and safety Lamar Morgan to be among the team’s top playmakers. End Rodney Hardeway is an excellent pass rusher who should be allowed to roam free with Sun Belt teams likely to struggle to do much up the gut.

The team will be far better if … the offense can convert on third downs. While the running game was dominant, drives were all but over on every third and long situation. ULL only converted 33.8% of its third down chances mainly because it couldn’t throw. All Desormeaux has to start doing is consistently hit the five-to-ten yard throw. If he can do that on the move, ULL will have the league’s best offense.

The Schedule: The non-conference schedule isn’t all that bad, but the Sun Belt slate gets interesting in a real hurry. Defending league champion Troy has to come to Lafayette, as does rival UL Monroe, but Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee are part of a tough stretch of four home games in five. Forget about beating South Carolina or Tennessee, but UCF is beatable, even in Orlando, and McNeese State and Ohio come to Cajun Field.

Best Offensive Player: Junior RB Tyrell Fenroy. He’s not all that big, but he’s as productive as they come with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons while dominating in conference play. He’s perfect for the system with his quickness, and now he should do even more with defenses needing to concentrate on Desormeaux more of a rushing threat than last year’s starter, Jerry Babb.

Best Defensive Player: Senior SS Lamar Morgan. Able to play either safety spot, the 6-2, 210-pound speedster is the team’s most versatile defensive back. He’s a good hitter who should do even more after moving over from free safety.

Key player to a successful season: Desormeaux. With the backup situation a bit iffy, Desormeaux has to do what he can to tone down his hard-nosed running style and make sure he can stay on the field. The better he is as a passer, the more the offense will roll.

The season will be a success if ... ULL wins the Sun Belt title. Just getting a bowl game would be nice, but the team is good enough, and has been close enough over the last few years, to end up in New Orleans. Anything less will be a tremendous disappointment.

Key game: Nov. 10 at Middle Tennessee. The Ragin’ Cajuns first have to beat Troy at home in September and then not slip up at Arkansas State before making the trip to Murfreesboro. It might be impossible to pull out a championship without a win over the Blue Raiders.

2006 Fun Stats: 
- Average yards per carry: UL Lafayette 4.7 – Opponents 3.9
- First half scoring: Opponents 182 – UL Lafayette 142
- Interceptions made: Opponents 14 – UL Lafayette 6


Related Stories
2007 UL Lafayette Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 17, 2007
2007 UL Lafayette Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 17, 2007
2007 UL Lafayette Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 17, 2007

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