UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns
Preview 2007 - ULL Offense
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What you need to know: The nation's seventh best rushing
team two years ago, and 11th best last year, ULL will run more
than ever with the return of two-time 1,000-yard back Tyrell
Fenroy, speedy Deon Wallace, and running quarterback Michael
Desormeaux. The receivers aren't used much, but they're
experienced enough to make plays when they get the chance. The
offensive line isn't deep, but the starting five will end up
fine. The team will hope for around 2,500 rushing yards, and
around 60% completion percentage throwing it.
Passing Michael Desormeaux
2-9, 15 yds
Rushing: Tyrell Fenroy
223 carries, 1,197 yds, 10 TD
Receiving: Derrick Smith
41 catches, 551 yds, 1 TD
Star of the offense: Junior RB Tyrell Fenroy
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore
OT Brad Bryant
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore C Chris Fisher
Best pro prospect: Senior OT Jesse Newman
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Fenroy, 2) QB Michael
Desormeaux, 3) Newman
Strength of the offense: Running game, receiver
Weakness of the offense:
Receiver production, backup quarterback
Projected Starter: Junior Michael Desormeux did a
little of everything last season as a backup quarterback,
part-time defensive back making four tackles and recovering
three fumbles, and being a big hitter on special teams. Now
he'll take over the full-time quarterback job with Jerry Babb
gone, but he has to be far better throwing the ball after
completing just two of nine passes last year for 15 yards. He's
a runner, and an effective one, tearing off 587 yards and three
touchdowns as a freshman and tearing off 180 yards and a score
averaging 7.5 yards per carry last year. He has the receiving
corps to be a more effective passer and should do just enough to
keep the offense moving. He'll run for 500 yards as long as he
doesn't get dinged up.
Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore John Hundley
can run the ball, but he's more of a pro-style passer with a
live arm and good size. At 6-3 and 218 pounds, he's a big backup
who could see time if Desormeaux struggles too much in pure
passing situations. Now he needs a little bit of time, which
he'll get throughout the season.
Junior Connor Morel was
good this spring, but the former walk-on from Northwestern State
is purely a backup and third stringer.
Watch Out For ... how effective Desormeaux is
throwing the ball. He doesn't have to throw for 2,000 yards, but
he has to complete close to 60% of his throws and take advantage
of all the receivers in single coverage.
Strength: Running. All the quarterback can run the
ball and all are mobile. They might not be able to throw and run
at the same time all that well, but they can all crank out yards
in chunks when they get the shot.
Weakness: Backups. Hundley and Morel have no experience
whatsoever. With the way Desormeaux takes shots, the reserves
have to be at the ready.
Outlook: Desormeaux will be a better runner than
Babb and should be a just-good enough passer to not be a total
liability. His worth is as a runner, and he needs to be
dangerous while not turning the ball over when he has to make
Projected Starters: Junior Tyrell Fenroy has been
one of the Sun Belt's best players over the last two seasons
with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with 23 total touchdowns.
While he's not that big at only 5-10 and 180 pounds, he's a
workhorse who gets better as the season goes on. After not
hitting the 20-carry mark for a four-game stretch, Fenroy closed
out the year running 34, 26 and 27 times while becoming even
more effective. He hits the hole quickly and is able to dart
outside in a hurry. Now he needs to be used even more in the
passing game to get him the ball on the move.
fullback Abdule Levier won't get many carries after
running nine times for 63 yards, but he'll serve as a key
blocker for Fenroy.
Projected Top Reserves: Fenroy is lightning-quick,
but sophomore Deon Wallace is extremely fast. Only 5-9
and 186 pounds with tremendous wheels able to potentially crank
out huge numbers when he gets to the outside. He finished third
on the team with 252 yards on 47 carries with two scores, and
now he'll be used even more. He'll start getting 7-10 carries a
game as opposed to the 3-6 he got last year.
Dupre will be the third option with the same makeup as
Fenroy or Wallace, but without the same wheels.
6-1, 260-pound junior Chancellor Robinson provides a
bigger sledgehammer of a blocker in place of Levier.
Watch Out For ... Wallace to get the ball in a
variety of ways. He has too much speed and too much potential
not to get the ball far more in open space. Fenroy could use all
the help he can get.
Strength: Quickness. Fenroy, Wallace and Dupre can
all dart in and out of holes and can all crank out five yards a
crack. Put them all together and there's the potential for a
Weakness: There isn't a whole bunch of power. Can Levier and
Robinson be consistent short yardage backs on more than a
one-time basis? It the running game needs a thunderback for
several situations, it doesn't have one.
Outlook: Fenroy will crank out 1,000 yards again
as long as he stays healthy, while Wallace might be a 300-yard
back with a few big games. Combining with QB Michael Desormeaux,
netting over 2,000 yards as a team shouldn't be a problem.
Projected Starters: The ULL receivers don't get a lot of
work, but the one target who gets used is junior Derrrick
Smith, who led the team with 41 catches for 551 yards and a
touchdown. How important was he? The team's second leading
receiver caught just 16 passes. He's a decent deep threat, but
he's not a scorer and doesn't get used much on home-run balls.
More than anything else, he's consistent turning into a reliable
playmaker over the second half of the year.
Chery will get the starting gig on the other side after
serving as a decent number two option, but a little used one
finishing second on the team with 16 grabs for 222 yards and two
touchdowns (both coming against Eastern Michigan). The former
running back has the quickness to do far more.
Senior tight end
Kevin Belton, who started eight times last season,
returns after making three catches fro 13 yards. He's not much
of a receiver, but he's a strong blocker who's great for the
Projected Top Reserves: The backup receivers are
reserves in name only. Sophomore Phillip Nevels and
redshirt freshman Marlin Miller will each be starters No.
1A. Nevels is a smart player with tremendous speed being used as
a punt returner as well as a possible number one receiver.
Miller is a small, quick target who'll push Chery hard for the
Also in the hunt for a starting spot is 6-4,
240-pound junior Erik Jones, who served as a spot starter
last season. He only caught a pass for ten yards, but he has the
hands and route running ability to do far more.
Watch Out For ... Nevels and Miller to get as much
starting consideration as Smith and Chery. Listed as co-starters
on the depth chart, the coaching staff will look for more
explosion and pop to the passing game, and the two youngsters
could be it.
Strength: Youth. The Ragin' Cajuns have their
receiving corps set for the next two years with two juniors, a
sophomore, and a redshirt freshman in place. This isn't an
inexperienced group that's not going to make too many mistakes.
Weakness: Is there a receiver who scares anyone? Smith is a
nice, reliable number one target, but he's not going to keep
defensive coordinators up at nights. Someone has to emerge as a
dangerous playmaker who can stretch the field and score on any
Sun Belt secondary.
Outlook: For what the Ragin' Cajuns want to do
offensively, this corps should be able to do the job. There
should be just enough production to provide a little bit of
balance if needed, but for the most part, this experienced group
will catch the occasional third down pass and take advantage of
defenses cheating up to stop the run.
Projected Starters: Three starters return to a decent line
that was a killer for the running attack. the best of the bunch is 6-4,
201-pound senior left tackle Jessie Newman, who earned All-Sun
Belt honors last season. A rock of the line for the last three seasons,
he's the team's top pass protector after getting into better shape. Now
he'll be the anchor the offense works around.
Next to Newman will be 6-2,
285-pound sophomore Brad Bustle, who saw time in every game last
season and got a start against Houston. The former defensive lineman
moved to the offensive line just a year ago, but he's proven to be
physical enough to handle the job. His mobility at left guard is a plus.
Sophomore Chris Fisher returns to his spot in the middle after
starting ten games last season including the final seven. Still a young
player learning on the fly, he'll be a good quarterback for the front
five over the next three seasons.
The starting right guard spot will be
up for grabs with 6-4, 278-pound senior Zach Leger likely to get
the starter after seeing time in every game last season and getting the
call in the season-finale against UL Monroe. He's been one of the team's
most experienced reserves, and now it'll be his time to show what he can
do in a full-time role.
6-5, 275-pound sophomore Brad Bryant will
get the nod at right tackle after moving over from center. A key reserve
early, he missed the final seven games with an injury.
Projected Top Reserves: Leger might have the
inside track at the right guard job, but senior Junior Ramos has
the experience after starting 11 times last season. At 6-3 and 311
pounds, he's a far bigger option for the ground game, but he doesn't
have Leger's mobility.
6-6, 290-pound sophomore Kyle Pirtle is an
athletic backup at left tackle behind Newman. He'll be groomed to take
over the job next season.
6-3, 298-pound senior Will Chance is
the team's most versatile reserve able to play either guard or tackle
spot, but he's strictly a reserve.
Watch Out For ... the right guard spot to be a
revolving door for the start all season long. Leger, Ramos, and
300-pound redshirt freshman Johnathan Decoster will all get plenty of
time to take control of the job.
Strength: Athleticism. This is one of the Sun
Belt's most athletic lines, but it doesn't sacrifice size. Considering
what the offense asks the linemen to do, they all have to move.
Weakness: Veteran reserves. ULL does a good job of getting
linemen ready to roll, but there isn't enough veteran depth to feel
comfortable with quite yet. If injuries strike early on, there will be
Outlook: The line will be plenty good enough to
keep the ground game rolling while doing a good job keeping the
quarterbacks clean. This isn't a group that'll dominate South Carolina
or Tennessee, but it'll be effective against everyone else.