Head Coach Rickey Bustle and Defensive Secondary Coach Hurlie Brown spoke to the Ragin' Cajuns Quarterback Club.

Rickey Bustle, Ragin' Cajuns FootballHead Coach Rickey Bustle spoke first.

It was a heckuva game. We had a nice crowd show up. We had an amazing game, Jason Chery stepped up, he ran more good routes that he has ever run. We felt like UNT would put more people in the box, and they did. So we took some shots downfield.

We keep impressing on our kids, you're scoring 59 points, but there is so much we could do better. We look at the film, and sure, we're playing new guys, but we can do better.

Our special teams were solid. Defensively, I don't think we came out with the highest level of intensity. I worried about that last week in practice. I think the players were looking past UNT, to Arkansas State.

In preparing for last week's game, we watched UNT on film. They were throwing lots of passes, but dropping a lot of them. Sure enough, they didn't drop that many against us.

We have some issues at linebacker. We have to raise our level of play up front and in the secondary. We'll move Antwyne Zanders over to the middle, we'll leave Daylon McCoy and Jezreel Washington in there. And behind that, we have three high school freshman. We also moved Matt Desormeaux over. We were planning to work him in after the break, but now he has to be ready, yesterday.

We have to make some adjustments this week. We are playing a great football team. ASU is playing well on both sides of the ball, and their special teams are strong. We're not going to run up and down on them.

ASU has a very physical defense. Alex Carrington leads the Sun Belt in sacks. It's hard to say this is the best defense we've played after Illinois and Kansas State, but this is a very good team, a very good team.

As for injuries, linebacker Richard Brooks has an ACL tear. Mike Desormeaux has a sprained knee, he's day-to-day. Brad McGuire is playing well at quarterback. The kids like him, he's so much like Mike. Brad can run and can throw, he just hasn't been tested.

The defensive line didn't seem to play well at UNT.

We didn't play well. We didn't stay in our quadrants on the quarterback, we flushed him out and he got it downfield.

Can we have another exciting game this Saturday?

I've said it a lot, on TV and radio, we have the potential. We have Tyrell Fenroy, we have Mike Desormeaux, we have Jason Chery. Louis Lee made a heckuva catch, and we're involving Jason more. The potential is there when you have players who can outrun people, and that's what we've proven.

But I never knew we would have all these big plays. I like to control the ball, control the clock, march downfield.

But I like it this way, too. [Laughter]

It seemed at UNT we passed with the wind at our back.

Absolutely. It was blowing pretty good, and that's when we were taking our shots.

How is Tyrell Fenroy?

He didn't re-injure his abdomen.

How is our offensive line?

Center Chris Fisher has a chronic knee and didn't practice. At guard, Brad [Bustle] didn't practice, and Ian Burks has a back strain. They have some chronic things.

We look forward to being back home, having a great crowd. Ya'll make yourselves heard.

 

Defensive Secondary Coach Hurlie Brown spoke next.

Thanks for having me and thanks for being here.

Here's what we have on ASU so far. On offense, their receivers are pretty good. They don't throw the ball as much, but they're physical and they'll get after you. Brandon Thompkins leads the team for receptions, and Jahbari McLennon is a good kid.

Their quarterback is junior Corey Leonard, he can run and throw. He's their version of Mike Desormeaux. He's a tough sonovagun, he's tough to defend.

At running back they have Reggie Arnold, he's up for the Doak Walker Award. He averages 5.8 yards a carry. At backup they have Derek Lawson with 551 yards, over 8 yards per carry.

Their tight end is David Johnson, he's a pro prospect. He's 6'2" 250 pounds. He's physical, he can run, he can block.

Defense... is it the best defense we've played? It's the best in the 'Belt. Defensive end Alex Carrington is one of their best NFL prospects, he's big, and he can flat-out run. When you talk to other coaches in the Sun Belt, they talk about him. At linebacker they have Ben Owens who is on the Bronko Nagurski watch, and was Nagurski National Player of the Week in September, and Sun Belt Player of the Week later that month.

They have a lot individuals up for awards. But they still have to line up and play.

Sure, we have Tyrell Fenroy, but we have 10 other guys who are going to be ready to play. We lost some linebackers, but we still have some guys who are ready to play. It's on us coaches to get them ready. We signed 'em, we coached 'em, they have to be ready to play.

ASU beat the crap out of us last year 52-21, and it makes me mad every time I think about it. I remember getting back on that airplane, wanting to see the film.

This year it's a different team, they lost a lot of seniors. And last year our guys weren't yet buying into what we're telling them. These guys understand what we're teaching them. They study film more... and it shows. We went to Kansas State, they had a new coach, they had people on their staff who knew us, and we didn't know what they would do.

But we lined up, and we played.

Is Undre Sails going to play more?

I don't know, that's offense. I would think so. You want to save him as long as you can, but Sails may be proving he is the next guy. But there are several other guys who are looking good.

Who are the backup linebackers?

We have Louis Lee, Chris Richard, Kyron Benoit. Those kids have been practicing since August. We have some freshmen, and this may be the biggest game of the year for them. Will they make mistakes? Sure, but so do seniors.

ASU likes to run ball, but also some play action, and their wide receivers are physical. How do we prepare for play action? If he can beat us throwing the ball, more power to them. Their top receiver has what-- about 2 catches per game?

They run the football. They're right behind us in the Sun Belt. They want to run.

What will we do to stop the run?

We have to get our kids ready. I think our kids overlooked UNT. Rice beat them 77-20. Sure, Coach Bustle tells them to be focused, but you're dealing with 18, 19 year-old kids. This is a different week. They know that ASU is the team to beat.

I don't think it's a matter of beating ASU. It's a matter of us doing what we do, improving every week. When someone beat us, it was when we didn't do what we have to do.

On our defensive play last week, it seemed there was not as much emotion. And we lost some size with linebacker. Will you stunt, how do you make up for the loss in size?

It's not size, it's execution. Linebacker Grant Fleming is a great loss. He has great technique, he understands the game. That hurts.

But that's why you recruit. We have some great guys. We're inexperienced, but we have to teach them, and they have to go out and play.

Derrick Keyes has really come around. Is it a light bulb? He's always been a presence on the field, but it seems these last 2 games, he has really improved.

He has worked harder in the ofg season than anyone. At the beginning of the season, he's thinking, 'I have 12 games left.' Now he's thinking, 'I have 6 left.' He understands that he has to work and practice. Our job is to get the kids to the point where they understand there is no tomorrow. We don't get to play them again next week.

You've changed positions from cornerbacks, to working with the entire secondary. How is that working out?

I think it's a good thing. Last year I had 2 players, this year I have 4. It lets Kevin Fouquier walk around, and get involved with all aspects of the defense.