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2007 UL Lafayette Preview - Defense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 18, 2007


Preview 2007 UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns Defense


 

UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

Preview 2007
- ULL Defense

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

What you need to know:
New defensive coordinator Kevin Fouqueir won't change too much from one of the Sun Belt's better defenses. Five starters return, along with a few others with starting experience, to form a solid run defense that needs to be tighter against the pass. The secondary will give up completions, but it's not going to get beaten too often. The front seven should be great with a nice blend of talents and depth to form a good rotation almost everywhere. If ULL doesn't lead the league in run defense, it'll finish second. 

Returning Leaders
Tackles: Brenton Burkhalter, 61
Sacks: Rodney Hardeway, 5
Interceptions: Gerren Blount, 2

Star of the defense: Senior SS Lamar Morgan
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior CB Jarrett Jones
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore DT LaQuincy Williams
Best pro prospect: Morgan
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Morgan, 2) LB Brenton Burkhalter, 3) DE Rodney Hardeway
Strength of the defense: Linebacker, safety
Weakness of the defense:
Pass defense, stars up front

Defensive Line

Projected Starters: Two starters return to a good line that held tough against the run in Sun Belt play. The main man up front is 6-4, 299-pound senior DT Korey Raymond, who originally signed with Ole Miss before going the JUCO route to ULL. He finished last season with 35 tackles and a tackle for loss as the big anchor for the run defense. and now he has to do more to collapse the pocket and make plays in the backfield. 

Next to Raymond will be 275-pound sophomore LaQuincy Williams, who was decent in a limited role making nine tackles and 2.5 sacks. He's a quick tackle who should shine in Sun Belt play.

253-pound senior Rodney Hardeway returns at one end after making 39 tackles and a team-leading five sacks and nine tackles for loss. He came on in the second half of 2005, and then took over the full-time role last year to become the team's most consistent pass rusher. While he's not a special All-Sun Belt type of player, he'll be good enough to make offensive coordinators worry.

On the other side will be 6-3, 245-pound senior Greg Hathorn taking over for Tony Hills. Hathorn is a former linebacker who made himself into a defensive end in the JUCO ranks. Last year he made 16 tackles and a sack as a backup, and now he has to use his quickness to become more of a pass rusher.

Projected Top Reserves: Sophomores Hall Davis and Chris Lanaux will combine for the backup end job behind Hardeway, while promising 6-5, 237-pound redshirt freshman Terrell Richardson will push for time behind Hathorn. Lanaux played in every game last season making four tackles with a recovered fumble, but Davis, the quicker of the two, should make more of an impact.

327-pound junior Seth Adams provides the bulk on the inside behind Raymond, but he doesn't have much in the way of experience only seeing time in six games last year and failing to make a tackle. He does have a blocked kick to his credit. 6-3, 247-pound redshirt freshman Sharrick Moore is an undersized, quick tackle option behind Williams.

Watch Out For ... the overall play of the line to be better than the parts. This isn't the the most talented line in the Sun Belt, but it'll be effective against the run and quick into the backfield.
Strength: Stopping the run. Raymond and Williams form a nice tackle tandem that should clog things up against most Sun Belt teams, while Hardeway and Hathorn have good size on the outside.
Weakness
:
Consistent play in the backfield. Sacks weren't a problem, but making plays behind the line was . That was sort of by design as the coaching staff didn't sent the house to try to be disruptive, but now more individuals have to make plays on their own. As a team, ULL only made 53 tackles for loss.
Outlook: Solid, if not spectacular. If the young backups can quickly shine through to provide a rotation, and if one of them, like Davis, becomes a good pass rushing specialist, this will be a strong line that should hold up against anyone in the league.
Rating: 4.5

Linebackers

Projected Starters: The linebacking corps welcomes back leading tackler and leader, junior Brenton Burkhalter, who made 61 tackles and recovered two fumbles. He's missed a little time in each of the last two seasons taking a pounding on his smallish 6-0, 221-pound frame, but he's tough as nails in the middle and as consistent as they come.

6-0, 217-pound junior Antwyne Zanders is back on the outside after finishing fifth on the team with 43 tackles and four tackles for loss. He sat out all of 2005 to become academically eligible, and then he came out roaring making nine stops in the loss to Texas A&M.

On the other side is 227-pound senior Mark Risher to finally start after being in and out last year with a concussion problem. He was growing into a possible star of the defense before last season, and now he should be one of the team's leading tacklers if he can stay healthy.

Projected Top Reserves: Senior Tre Green was all set to be a starter last year on the outside after starting most of his sophomore season, but he ended up having an assortment of issues over the last two years, was never healthy throughout last season and finished up making just 13 tackles. He has the speed to become a major factor if he gets time behind Zanders.

210-pound junior Jonathan Vance is a smaller, quicker option on the outside behind Risher. He has to be ready to step in at a moment's notice if Risher has concussion issues again, and he should be ready after seeing a little bit of time last year making four tackles.

6-2, 255-pound redshirt freshman Fred Davis is the biggest player in the corps, but he's also one of the greenest. He didn't play football until his senior year in high school and is still learning the ins and outs. He'll start out behind Burkhalter in the middle.

Watch Out For ... the projected backups to play a bigger role than most reserves. Vance, Green and Davis could form a nice starting trio and could ended up pushing hard for playing time in a good rotation.
Strength: Options. With six good linebackers, and a seventh on the way in top freshman recruit Richard Brooks, the corps has more than enough players to keep everyone fresh.
Weakness
:
Pass rushers. Don't expect the outside guys to do much in the way of getting into the backfield. Their job will be to stop the run first and foremost, while occasionally getting behind the line.
Outlook: It's a good corps with a nice blend of talents. It'll have problems against the power running teams, and it's not going to do a whole bunch against the pass, but it'll more than hold its own in Sun Belt play.
Rating: 4.5

Defensive Backs

Projected Starters: The safeties will be the strength early on thanks to the return of 6-2, 210-pound senior strong safety Lamar Morgan. Back fully healthy from a knee injury of a few years ago, he's got the speed to play free safety and the hitting ability to shine at strong safety, where he'll likely end up playing. He made 53 tackles last season highlighted by a 14-tackle day against Texas A&M, to go along with five broken up passes. He'll play like a fourth linebacker.

Sophomore Gerren Blount isn't all that big a 5-10 and 177 pounds, but he's a speedy player who can hit making 41 tackles and a team-leading two interceptions. Expect him to be the team's top ball-hawk.

The corners are a little more suspect, but they're not bad. 6-2, 192-pound senior Kyle Ward has the size, he has the track-star speed, but he doesn't have top-shelf cover skills. He made 42 tackles and three tackles last season, and now he'll battle to keep the starting job on the left side.

5-10, 190-pound senior Jarrett Jones will start on the right after missing all of last year. He's a good tackler, but he has to prove he can stay healthy. He has the range to be a top nickel back if needed.

Projected Top Reserves: Senior Torres Kingsby isn't as big or as fast as Ward, but he's a fantastic tackler with plenty of experience. He made 26 stops and an interception in a reserve role. Now he might be the starter on the left side.

The fastest of the ULL defensive backs is sophomore Junior Jean with 4.45 speed. He's still about a year away from being a starter, but he'll play a key role behind Jones on the right side.

6-1, 170-pound redshirt freshman Maurice Rolle is the future of the secondary at free safety, and he might turn out to be too good to keep off the field. He's a great hitter with the range of a corner.

Senior Derek Keyes isn't big at only 5-9 and 175 pounds, but he can pop making 17 tackles in just six games last season having various problems with injuries. He'll combine with speedy redshirt freshman Daylon McCoy to play behind Morgan.

Watch Out For ... Morgan to take his game to another level and become an All-Sun Belt caliber player. He's been around long enough to know what he's doing, and he's big enough to be an intimidating force.
Strength: Safeties. Morgan and Blount will be one of the best safety pairs in the Sun Belt, while Keyes, McCoy and Rolle can all play.
Weakness
:
Making big plays. ULL only came up with six interceptions last season and got picked apart by accurate short to midrange passers. The corners have the experience and a little bit of speed, but they have to be more aggressive when the ball's in the air.
Outlook: The gameplan will stay the same as it has over the last few years: give up underneath passes, don't get beaten deep, and try to come up with the one big stop when needed. Efficient quarterbacks will do whatever they want to against this group, but the bombers won't find too much success.
Rating: 4.5

Special Teams

Projected Starters: Drew Edmiston is back after surprisingly great freshman season hitting 11 of 14 field goal attempts while showing good range hitting a 51-yard bomb against Houston. Talk about a consistent deep leg, he connected on all seven of his field goal attempts from 40 to 49 yards. He'll also be the backup punter behind redshirt freshman Tyler Albrecht, who should be an upgrade over Brit Framel. While Albrecht doesn't have a huge leg, he should be able to average over 40 yards a kick without a problem.

Jason Chery
, who averaged just 17.2 yards per try, and Louis Lee will be the main kick returner, while Phillip Nevels will take over the punt return duties from Michael Adams. Adams averaged 7.4 yards per return, while Nevels averaged 4.1.

Watch Out For ... Edmiston to be used more and more. With his leg, consistency and range, the coaching staff will trust him even more. He only attempted one field goal over the final five games (and made it).
Strength: Edmiston. In what's sure to be a tight Sun Belt race, he could be the difference between a losing season and a Sun Belt title.
Weakness
:
The return game. It hasn't been a plus over the last few years, while the coverage units have been a real problem. Someone has to emerge as a viable, dangerous kick returner.
Outlook: The kicking game will be solid as long as Albrecht can air it out on a regular basis, but the return game needs more pop.
Rating:
6

 

 

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








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