Cajuns Head Coach Rickey Bustle and Defensive Backs Coach Hurlie Brown spoke about the come-from-behind win against North Texas, and the upcoming game at new Sun Belt Football member Western Kentucky.

Rickey Bustle

I appreciate all of you who came to the game, you saw our kids play their hearts out.

It was disappointing in some ways. With the defense, the open week helped us to get healthy, no doubt. But it's a double-edged sword, we put in a couple of tweaks that didn't work very well. We got away from some base things that we need to do. In the second half we went back to the base plan, and that helped us. North Texas can always throw the football, and Riley Dodge is going to do some things in the game. I think our kids got a bit panicky, they weren't sure of their assignments. There was a little harum-scarum out there.

But we had nine tackles for losses. I thought we put pressure on the quarterback, he made some throws that he'd like to have back. I'm glad he doesn't have them back.

We had a heckuva a game, we got three turnovers in the first half, one turned into 6 points. Dwight Bentley had a big game. I told our kids we need to stop living on the edge, this is getting crazy.

There were some great things on defense, but we know what shortcomings we had. We had a plan we didn't execute very well, we got back to the base in the second half.

Offensively, we're still trying to work into a rhythm. We had a plan to put Brad McGuire in the game, and that was a spark for us. Offense is so difference from defense. The line played well, Yobes Walker made some runs. He's not going to outrun anyone, but he's hard to bring down. He didn't play a lot, but he runs hard.

Special teams made some critical plays, both ways. We need better kicks. We got two excellent kicks, but did not cover. We missed too many tackles. Those hurt you, particularly out in space, those will hurt you.

We were excited our kids blocked a kick. I told my kids on special teams that we haven't been that good. Blocking a kick puts a lot of pressure on the kicker, we were close to blocking two or three more. When UNT turned down the penalty for running into the kicker, I wanted them to take it. I felt like we could get there and block it, and I know that affected UNT's decision. And then the last punt went a little over his head, and he shanked it.

We'll face a different punt team this week.

You said we tweaked our defense. How?

I think we were trying to defend the run, there was some confusion about who was taking the dive, who was taking the quarterback. The linebacker didn't get over several times when he should have.

What's a horse collar penalty? I had my binoculars on that play, I didn't see it.

It's when you grab a player on the collar and bring him straight down backwards. If you're going forward and bring him down, it's not a call. They're missing that call a lot this year.

It's hard to call. We can't see it on the film with the angle we had. It looks like he grabbed the meat & dragged him down.

Can you pull on their long hair?

[laughter] I believe you can.

Why did we wait to put in McGuire? The team seemed flat, they seem to respond to him.

I don't think we were flat at all, not emotionally. We didn't know when we were going to put him in. Sometimes saying beforehand when you're going to switch is the worst thing you can do.

Chris Masson didn't have a great day, but he wasn't playing badly. We just knew we would do that.

On one play, Brad ran it for several plays, then Chris came in passing, then Brad. Is there some problem with Brad's throwing?

No, Brad knows he's got to be able to pass. He'll be throwing it.

Our tight ends were taller than the UNT defensive backs, but Chris wasn't throwing to them.

The tight ends will play an important role. We read some plays wrong, they should have gotten more throws.


Jordan Topp questionable, but he played to the end of the game. Kyron Benoit we hope will be back, Matt Desormeaux I think will be back. Chris Lanaux came out pretty good.

On the review of the call about whether the ball broke the plane, I noticed we don't have a camera on the goal line.

In the Conference, all schools have the same cameras. It's not a great setup. The thing is, I don't know how they had it set up, but we're supposed to have TV feeds.

We had a 3rd & 6, we made a 1 yard pass to a receiver heading out of bounds.

That was a misread, it should have gone the other side.

Did Antwyne Zanders miss some plays?

Yeah, he's still nursing an ankle. We're fortunate that everyone is playable, but they're not all 100%.

I am so pleased with what the kids are trying to do. But I told them we've got to stop playing on the edge. We still have room to improve. We have some individuals who are doing well, others who need to improve.

I'm pleased with where we are, we're taking it one game at a time. Thank you all, if you can't make it to the Western Kentucky game, I hope to see you for a big homecoming.

Hurlie Brown, Linebackers Coach, Ragin' Cajun Football, Univeristy of LouisianaHurlie Brown

Thanks for coming. You guys are a tough crowd, you know your football. This is just awesome.

I think we did better pass coverage this year than we have for three or four years. But it seems like sometimes the passer has too much time.

Yes and no. Being a secondary coach, I've always felt the best pass defense is a pass rush. The first interception we made, it was a good read, but on the second, Daylon McCoy was in his face and Bentley made a good catch.

I think Hall Davis is one of the best pass rushers in the Sun Belt, but he doesn't always trust it. When I first got here, the kids didn't trust it, they would revert to whatever they did in the past. We have to stick to the game plane, we've been doing this a long time. I think Tim Rebowe has the least experience, and he has 22 years. The coaches all have 20+ years experience.

They have to trust it. Antwyne didn't trust it. If he doesn't get the big hit early, he tends to revert. In the second half they had something like 120 yards of offense. In the 4th quarter, they had -1 passing and 16 rushing. That's a testament to our strength & conditioning program.

Why do our kids sometimes have that 'deer in headlights' look?

Well, that's designed. It's called 'Crazy.'

When when we were at FIU, Troy had these packages that confused you, so we came up with Crazy, so that the offense doesn't know who to block. If you look, when our guys are standing around & moving around, their quarterback doesn't know what's going on. They called a couple of timeouts because they couldn't figure out what was going on.

I don't know what you did to Maurice Rolle, but he's a striker.

He's always had speed, but last year he didn't play. He thought that because he put on the pads and showed up, that he's supposed to play. That's not the case, you have to earn your playing time. You have to work hard, watch film. He made some mistakes in practice, and it didn't matter to him.

I told his dad, "If he will allow me to coach him, if he gives me what he's got, I'll make him the best defensive back he can be."

He surprised me the other night, I knew he could run, but I didn't know he could stick a hat on it.

They have to trust us, and we have to keep building them up. You can say what you want, we willed ourselves to win. I don't know if that game would have happened like that three or four years ago.

We're going to be a pretty good football team.

How is WKU's running game?

#3, Bobby Rainey, he's a pretty good running back. He strong, he's stocky, he's quick. #6 Kawaun Jakes is a better runner, but not as much as #12 Brandon Smith.

They play tough.

How is the WKU receiver corps?

They have some kids who can get it done, but they prefer to run. I don't think they've had enough experience throwing, they've run it in the past.

Against WKU, defensively do we stop the run, make 'em pass?

Yessir, make 'em do what they're not comfortable with.

We'll run some man-to-man, but for the most part we'll run the zone defense.

Do we have more blitzes in the playbook?

Man, we got a million blitzes. Each week is different, we're going to tailor our blitzes to what we see. We go in blitzing each way and try to figure out what we need defensively each week.

With the addition of WKU to the Conference, does your recruiting area spread out?

No, we're not going to Western Kentucky. Having only been here three years, we have enough talent right here in Louisiana to win the Sun Belt Conference year in and year out. We can get a couple of kids out of Florida & Texas, and a few out of our own back yard. We got a couple of kids from Tulsa, from north Texas. But we're sitting on a gold mine right here.

I was talking to a recruit's mom, she was saying, "I don't understand why these kids go all over when they can stay at home and help make UL better."

And I'm thinking, "Dang, we need you recruiting."

So we're going to try to stay right here.

You coaches talk about what really nice kids we have. Many schools recruit a lot of thugs. Is there a trade-off?

I don't know that we have a bunch of 'nice guys.' If it comes down to it, they know how to get down & dirty.

I played for Butch Davis at Miami. Butch said you can't go out and just recruit a bunch of thugs, it'll ruin your program. We've had some rough kids here, but they're no longer with us.

Thugs aren't real smart, they don't know how to get it done, and then they're gone in two or three years. If you fill your locker room with a bunch of great kids, they will play for each other, they will play for you, and they will find ways to win.

We're not going to bring in thugs, we're not going to do that to you guys. We turned down a kid last year who did not fit in the locker room. He was a great player, but we turned him down.

What about academics, what about recruiting props? What about taking a chance on some of those?

If we have two kids, one is a little better than the other athletically, but struggles in the classroom; then this other kid may not be quite as good, but he's doing well academically, we're taking him.

I don't think you need to get those props and JC transfers. If you recruit hard enough, if you turn over enough rocks, you're going to find a Grant Fleming, he's been starting for us since he was a freshman. Orkeys Aurienne graduated magna cum laude. Now, he walks around with his pants hanging down.  But he's been playing for us since he was a freshman.

I've been with some programs where you spend more time keeping the kids out of trouble than you do coaching.

Your defensive backs have improved in the past few years. Do you ever look at film of the defensive backs we had from '95-'96?

No, I don't know much about those players. But I wish I had those guys, they're some of the best in the game. Your C.C. Browns, your Ike Taylors, you don't see many of those.

I think Maurice Rolle, if he allows us to coach him, if he grows, I think he'll be like that. Gerren Blount did not trust it, but now he's starting to.

I'm really lucky right now. I wish I could take credit, but the kids are playing hard, they want to win.

But it's the kids. The kids are different.