SBC 2009 Football Preview for the Ragin' Cajuns.

Daylon McCoy, University of Louisiana FootballJason Chery, Michael Desormeaux and Tyrell Fenroy all moved on, signing NFL contracts and leaving the Cajuns looking to fill the void. The good news is that the Cajuns' offense have stability from the coaching side, as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Ron Hudson and passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jorge Munoz both return. The team endured three consecutive seasons with a different offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2006-08. Hudson and Munoz worked well together in their first season, producing the nation’s No. 7 rushing offense, No. 13 total offense and No. 24 scoring offense. The pair should benefit from a second season together tutoring the Cajuns young talent.

Sophomore Brad McGuire has the inside edge to win the quarterback job, starting vs. Arkansas State in 2008 and leading the team to victory when Desormeaux was sidelined with an injury. He continued to be the leading candidate for the job with excellent play during the spring until an injury forced him to the sidelines for the final week of spring ball.

For the past four seasons, the Cajuns knew what they were getting at running back. Tyrell Fenroy, the 2008 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, became just the seventh player in NCAA history with four 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He ended his career as the school, conference and state of Louisiana career rushing champion with 4,646 yards. Fenroy topped 100 yards rushing in 22 games and scored 48 rushing TD’s - school and SBC records. The burden to follow Fenroy, who had his number retired in a pre-game ceremony in the 2008 season finale, falls on a group of untested players. Seniors Undrea Sails and Matt Dupré, along with sophomore Julian Shankle and redshirt freshmen Draylon Booker and Yobes Walker all had chances to showcase their talents in the spring. The running back group enters the season with just 72 career carries and will learn under fire from new coach Justin Lustig. Lustig enters his first season guiding the Cajuns running backs and special teams. Sails played well in spot duty behind Fenroy last season until a knee injury ended his campaign with three games remaining. He recovered in time to make his case for the vacant job at running back during spring drills.

For the second straight season, the offensive line will return five starters. The Cajuns depth is young but talented and benefited from extended spring reps. Seniors Chris Fisher and Brad Bustle, both on the 2009 Rotary Lombardi Award preliminary watch list, sat out the spring after post-season surgery. Fisher is also on the Rimington Trophy Watch List. Both Fisher and Bustle are expected to be ready for the fall.

The Cajuns' defense, known by their motto, TNT (Tackles 'N' Turnovers), improved in their second year under defensive coordinator Kevin Fouquier. The defense allowed fewer points, less yards per game and created more turnovers in 2008 than 2007. After playing with several young and inexperienced players in 2008, the defense returns a plethora of players that have either started or seen significant playing time. The team lost only two of its top 12 tacklers from a year ago and sees all but one player who recorded a sack last year returning in 2009. The defense also scored several touchdowns during the season. Gerren Blount provided a pair of scores, one coming via a 22-yard fumble return vs. FIU, while his other score came on a 55-yard interception return vs. UTEP. Scooter Rogers also took a fumble return 30 yards for a TD at FAU. The defense will certainly have to continue improving to give the Cajuns a chance to be better as a team in 2009. Nine starters return from last season, which should help improve the overall consistency of the group. In fact, of the 24 letterwinners returning on defense, just six are seniors, meaning the team is loaded with young, but experienced, talent.

Photograph: Daylon McCoy tied for team lead in tackles a year ago and led the Cajuns in sacks.

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