Coaches Bustle and Hudson spoke.

Coach Rickey Bustle spoke first.

I don't have a lot of explanations for the FAU game, we just played poorly. I'm not telling you something you didn't hear on the radio.

On defense, I was very frustrated with the way we played. FAU runs 4 plays, and they're in the end zone. Some of it came from our young linebackers, from poor communication between the front and back of the field. There was a lot of busted coverage. But looking at the film, we looked like we were in slow motion.

Offensively, we turned it over. We have to score points. I was glad we scored at the end of the game, but it was too little, too late.

We had a good week of practice before FAU, they understood what they were supposed to do. Our players knew this was an important game. It was probably as physical game as we've had.

But those young linebackers made mistakes. When the bullets started flying, they didn't play well.

I hope our team didn't let this game get to them. It's tough for a young team, it's an emotional roller coaster.

I was glad we got the other quarterbacks in. I thought Mike Desormeaux ran better than he has the past few games. I was proud of Chris Masson, he threw an interception and came back and scored. Brad came back after a fumble, too.

I was embarrassed in the first half. We have to play better this week. We're playing a team that throws the ball like heck.

Last night, we had a lot of black and green shirts on. We took the helmets off and had a good practice, but if we had been in pads, those guys wouldn't have practiced all.

They know what we have to do. I talked to them a lot last night. We talk about 1% every day, about getting better, about focus. We talked about how we got here, and what we have to do.

We have to handle the pressure of the big game better than we did last week.

How are we on injuries?

Linebacker Jezreel Washington didn't play the first half. He played in the second, and that probably hurt more then help. Daylon McCoy may be back on linebacker.

At offensive tackle, Colin Windsor hurt a thumb, we'll see if it's a ligament. He could be done for the season. Brad Bustle still has the the shoulder problem. Everybody's a little banged up right now. I'm sure Troy is, too.

After Mike Desormeaux came out, there was a bad snap, and Brad McGuire didn't handle it.

Chris Fisher does a great job of snapping. He has the same speed on the ball, every time. For some reason this one came out like a rocket. I've never seen him do one like that.

Talk about your decision to go for it in the first half on 4th and 1.

We're in one of those situations where I wish we didn't have those questions.

We were near the FAU goal line. They had a long way to go. I knew 2 weeks ago we needed more than 3 points, this was the same situation. I felt like we'd get it, and I'd do it again.

It's a crap shoot either way, and that's why I do it early in the game.

On the play, how did we lose 2 yards?

We ran out of the shotgun, the left guard got pushed back and Mike ran into it.

At first we thought it was only a foot to go, and originally we called a sneak. But it turned out it was a yard, so we changed the play.

Could you go with the other quarterbacks this week?

Our plan was that we were going to call this game to win. That's why Mike pulled himself out. He knew if he was hurting, he was supposed to pull himself out of the game. But we need the zone read to run our offense effectively, and Mike gives us that.

Gerald Hebert, Ragin' Cajuns Coordinator of Athletic Development spoke briefly.

Over the past few years, there have been a number of people who have helped energize the program. One of the best examples of this were Connie & Rob Trahan, who have been so generous. Lately, T-Boy Hebert, Ed Domingue, and a number of you here have done so many things.

At the last game, we recognized Ed and his wife, but through a miscommunication, we gave them the wrong presentation.

To give you an idea of how much Ed has done for us, his company funded the three coaching towel promotions, which was $90K. He just built a new tower for band practices, which was $25K. He put up two film towers near our scoreboards, that was $45K. He put up another $80K for the RV electrical hookups at tailgating, and over $150K in cash donations.

He helped us build the foundation for where we're going, just like so many of you are doing.

[Mr. Domingue came up and received a plaque, with applause from the audience.)

Offensive Coordinator Ron Hudson spoke next.

We put in our two other running backs at the end of the game. Is Tyrell injured?

I had made a couple of substitutions up front. At this point, everybody is banged up. Brad Bustle worked out in warm ups, but he played with one arm most of the game.

We felt that Tyrell was running well. We're rolling guys in, so I put in the two freshmen. Julian Shankle did a good job. Matt Dupré is a walk on, he's played at different times, and he came in with an attitude that lit a fire under everyone.

We're very, very disappointed. But some of our young guys were angry too, and they played well. Shankle played well. Kyle Plouhar probably played five snaps before this game. He was our center in the Spring when Fisher was injured. So as a true freshman he got a lot of snaps. He's big, 6' 5" 285 lbs. I didn't tell him before-hand, but I knew he had to play. I just told him what we tell them all, they need to be ready.

Colin Windsor was going to start. Before the game I grabbed Fisher, told him he's got to get Plouhar ready to play on the second series. Fisher asked me, "Did you tell him?"

I said, "No, I don't want him to be nervous." He played well. We ran about 80 plays, Plouhar played about 40. Josh Robinson came in at the end, and he helped out.

How are our young people working out?

Shankle & Dupré are a good example. The quarterbacks are, too.

Early on, it was typical Desormeaux, "I'm good, I'm ready," and then he blames himself for everything. Mike's not a selfish kid. He came to us and said, "Just call the offense, if I can't play, Brad or Chris can." In the first half, he got hit on the knee, and pulled himself out of the game.

Then there was the snap from Fisher. Usually it's a good hard snap, like a big watermelon, easy to catch. This one came out in a tight spiral, hit Brad in the head. I felt bad for Brad, but he didn't do anything wrong.

Why did you put in the third string quarterback, when we were still in the ball game?

Brad had been in the game, but he's got some dings, he's working his way through the zone read. We're on short yardage, Brad pulls it, runs and hits the free safety, gets under him and knocks the kid flat on the ground. But he tightened up after that.

Chris Masson has continued to improve. We have GREAT kids, he's one. He has wowed us on a few occasions. He threw a pick the first play. But he is a great competitor.

So we tell him, "OK, let's go." He comes back in, gets in a rhythm. On the touchdown play he got flushed, he rolls right, and a redshirt fresh, under pressure, throws a beautiful pass. Schnellenburger says he's over the line of scrimmage. I thought he was too, but they reviewed it, he wasn't. It was impressive. He runs right up to the line, then takes 3 steps to the right and throws the strike. It was a Brett Favre play.

So he's shown us he can play, too.

Bustle said FAU was hitting hard. Were we hitting back?

They were hitting hard. I thought we were hitting back, we were getting after them some. But at times they were more physical.

In the first half near the goal line, why didn't we run the sneak on that fourth down play?

On that play, it was originally a quarterback sneak. I had watched FAU on film, and someone else had lost a yard on a quarterback sneak. Complicating that, we spend 99% of the time in shotgun. We had showed them the sneak twice, so we were worried they'd stop it.

So we decided to go with another play we had worked on. It was a zone read play, but the bottom line is, we got licked up front. So we didn't get the push for the cut-back. If we we run quarterback sneak, both those guards came back, they probably stop us.

Earlier in the season we were pounding it up in there. We have to get back to that.

Against UTEP, a few times early, the same thing happened. Later on, we settled down and played well.

Our defense can't stop anybody.

The FAU & UTEP quarterbacks are pretty good. Our defense gave us enough chances to win the ballgame.

We threw some young guys out there, and there were problems putting the front and back ends together. I thought against UTEP the defense gave us a chance. Same thing at FAU. Against ASU, they won it for us. The coaches are trying to put it together for this week.

What will we do against Troy?

Part of what we can do is force them to keep it in their hands. They like to throw short, but the quarterback is accurate, their tailback is good, and #3 Jerrell Jernigan is like our Chery. They have some weapons we have to stop.

We're going to try to do somethings to be successful. First, we give our guys enough to play defense with, but not so much to screw them up. They're talented, but they're young. You don't want to tie them up focusing on too many things.

Second, we have to give them enough plays to keep the offense off balance.

Having coached with FAU's Schnellenburger and those guys, I knew they pick on linebackers. They design their plays to pull them off and confuse them. I knew we would have a tough fight.

Coach Bustle say that Mike's injury doesn't affect his throwing. But he's had five picks the past two games, the numbers don't add up.

I don't think the injury is the cause of that. I think we're playing some athletic people. Remember, Mike threw some picks early in the year.

The first pick, the cover jumped the flat, but as Mike throws the guy turns on a step and comes back and makes a great play. The second one, Mike made a bad decision, he threw across the play.

So maybe it's his mindset, he feels like he has to produce because he can't run as well. But it's not his leg.

How about Troy's passing?

They can throw the ball well, they're well-schooled. There are going to be tighter windows against a team that throws a lot, their defense has seen it in practice all year. You make a mistake, they'll make you pay.

The Smith kid for FAU is good, they throw the ball. I was a graduate assistant at Louisville under Schnellenburger. After coaching at Miami, I'm thinking he throws the ball a lot. But he's a crusty old guy who loves to pound it.

What is our game plan for the quarterback?

We talked at half time at FAU. We were disappointed with how we were playing. You look at the scoreboard and think, "We have to make changes." But we missed two opportunities to score, and if we do, we're ahead. So we had our chances.

At FAU, Mike's averaging 5.8 yards per run. That's not the normal Mike, but it's good enough, it moved us up and down the field. So we'll sit down and talk it through. But I think it will be the same thing against Troy.

After the game, Mike is crushed, he's bawling. He says, "I feel like I'm hurting us."

I told him, "If we think you're hurting us, we'll pull you. You're still a weapon."

For all of the things a quarterback does, throwing the football is #3 or #4 on the list. #1 is being the leader. If we travel 65 guys, 64 of them look to Mike. If he can't get it done, we'll pull him. But if he's close, we're staying with Mike.

Brad McQuire is a helluva quarterback, if we think we can win with him, that's what we'll do. But there's something special in Mike. He has some qualities that not many other people on the planet bring to the table.

And I think our kids appreciate that.

McGuire doesn't read the zone like Mike, so do we call plays to his strengths?

Against ASU? Brad threw 2 slants, 2 screens and 2 zone reads. Brad can do it. He's not as comfortable as Mike is, but he can do it.

But people around the country want us to come and teach them about the zone read. Big chunks happen with it, so defenders have to cover the whole field. The fact that we do it with him in there, helps him throw the ball better.

ASU was trying to take away the run, so we pass it and burn them. The long balls to Ladarius Green, that happens when the safeties come up and we throw it over their heads.

Is Brad as big a threat as Mike?

No. But he's still pretty good. We want people to defend our zone read, we think that limits them, and gives us our best chance.

And our kids know that. They watch film and say, "They won't run that defense against us."

Against FAU we had the ball 40 minutes, we had over 400 yards. The turnovers killed us. But we're a tough offense to defend.

What about Jason Chery?

He has a bruised hamstring. He got flipped over, hit on his hamstring. I think he'll be OK, but he has like, 1% body fat.

Anybody back this week?

We think Daylon McCoy will be back at linebacker. From the offensive side, I'm telling you, he's big.

I recruited him, and I saw him in high school. Every game, he's going to come up with a fumble recovery, an interception, some big play.

I will never forget the ASU game. We have them backed up at the end of the game, and McCoy made the sack. He changed the game. If we get him back, he changes both sides of the ball.

Offensively, I'm not sure. Windsor played with one hand the second half. When he and Brad Bustle were in there, we had two good arms between them.

How's Ian Burks?

It's a goofy back thing. It knotted up against UNT. Then we think we have him ready to go, and he knots up again.

He's an awesome kid. I didn't start him at FAU, but he went in for the second series. He was one of the guards who gets knocked back when they stopped us on fourth down. He came out and said, "It's my fault, my fault." Then I look over, and he's twisted like a question mark.

It seems to flare up when he's overworked. So we're going to put him in a glass case for 5 days.

What about the three serious injuries?

All of our surgery guys are doing well. All three have had surgery, they're driving Porche nuts. They want to play.

Richard had his surgery pushed back a couple of weeks. He's doing well. Nasser is back, he's 285 lbs, he has a chest on him. He's angry. If he can't play in the Spring, he may start fist-fighting with some one.

So they look good.

What about Troy?

Good. They're really good. Honestly, everybody talks about playing LSU before us. I promise you, LSU was not happy to be playing Troy at that point. They're good. They have some games under their belt.

Their quarterback #12 Levi Brown, he's a good runner. He's not great at the long ball, but he's good. Their offensive line is not that big, but they're good. Their tailback Dujuan Harris, and their wide receiver #3, Jernigan can get it done.

They try to create situations where they try to put it in the right players' hands.

Troy is Troy, they will always have small, fast players. You put a big guy to cover them, they're like a gnat.

As for their defense, I hope you come to the game. They are a good defense. They're athletic. They're not complicated, but against LSU they brought some almost unsound stuff. You laugh, until you see #91 Brandon Lang run stride-for-stride with LSU's wide-out.

They have talent, they have skill. We've played some people like them. They are very athletic, and I'm looking forward to it . We're both at the top of the conference, so it's #1 vs. #1, and it's the #1 defense vs. #1 offense. Who's gonna win?

They're a good team. They're the kind of team you have to beat if you're going to win the conference.