Ragin' Cajuns Head Football Coach Rickey Bustle and Receivers Coach Daryl Mason talk about the overtime loss at FIU, and the upcoming game at Arkansas State.

Rickey Bustle

Thank you all for coming. I want you to know that I did peep around the corner this time before I came in.

It was a tough tough loss, it was frustrating. We're fighting like heck for consistency.

I thought our defense stepped up and played extremely well. This week, we worked on getting off blocks and tackling. For most of the game they played very well, we created 4 turnovers. Our offense has to be able to take advantage of that.

We missed Brad McGuire, we missed Ladarius Green. We did not play well on the offensive line, we did not run well. That's why we were running different people in and out. On the two short yardage plays if Yobes runs the 'A' gap [between the center and the guard], he gets yardage both times. But he wanted to bounce it outside.

We lead our conference in the red zone. Our kicking game is better, we covered better. Spencer Ortego was doing a tremendous job with the punts.

It was hot out there. I drank a couple of gallons of water, and I wasn't playing.

The biggest thing I told our players is we need to finish strong. We're going up against the toughest teams in the conference. There is no reason we can't play better.

The kids are tougher than I am. There's no finger-pointing among them. We have to get it together.

I knew at the beginning of the year there would be inconsistencies, but I thought we would have them solved by now.

What about the blocked kick at the end of overtime?

He came right over Jaron Odom, the biggest guy on the team. They put two guys on him and rolled him. The kick was a little low, but not much.

On the defensive side, we had turnovers, sacks-- one with a fumble. What did we do differently late in the game?

We blitzed 5 times out of 13 plays in the last quarter. Someone said the teams looked sluggish, but it was hot out there.  At the beginning of the game, we were blitzing, moving, disguising, but in the 4th quarter we blitzed 5 times.

A couple of games this season we rushed Matt Desormeaux and he picked up some yardage.

We've lost three of our four tight ends, and he was playing that position this week. We lost our third tight end at practice Thursday.

How many of the tight ends will be back this week?

None will be back. Brandon Williams will be out a while, Ladarius Green won't respond fast enough. 

As a team, are we going forward or backward?

We're going through some growing pains. You move up & back.

Our defense took a couple of steps back. They talked after the game and said "Let's finish strong."

I think confidence has a little to do with it, particularly defensively. Offensively, we're a little more blue collar. We need to throw it more.

Don't give up on this bunch. These guys will make you proud. They're good kids, and they are fighting their hearts out. They're going to turn it around, because of these kids, and their character.

Daryl Mason, Receivers Coach, Ragin' Cajuns Football, University of LouisianaDaryl Mason

I'm really happy to come before you all. I think that the Ragin' Cajuns are very fortunate to fans like you all. I've been at Northwestern State, ULM, Tulane, and during the hurricane year I was in Ruston. I've always said, and I'll continue to say it, Lafayette is the best place in Louisiana to be. I'm happy to have the opportunity to coach the Cajuns.

Last week was very trying, we lost people before the game, we didn't execute well. We had several series of over 10 plays where didn't score. Defensively we're looking for answers. We're going to make some changes and see what happens.

The kids have been practicing and practicing, I'm looking forward to what those guys can do.

Our #1 tight end is down with a neck injury, so he won't be out there fast. Our #2 tight end got hurt. Our #1 running back is out.

We can't feel sorry for ourselves. ASU is a good team. They had 8 guys on defense make the preseason all-conference team. They are only 20 points away from being 6-1.

We have to go into Jonesboro and play a heckuva game. We're going to prepare ourselves, and go up there for a win.

We'll need 8 yards and we'll throw a 2 yard pass. What's happening there?

If we run everybody to where the ball needs to be, the defense will just sit there and wait for us. So we stretch it vertically and horizontally, and we have to pick the player that's not covered. If that's the underneath guy, he has to be able to get to where he needs to be, and he has to be able to make some people miss. It's a timing route, two steps, five steps, and the receiver needs to know where he needs to get to.

It seemed our passer had a lot of tips. Was their line overpowering ours, or what?

Well, we need to be stronger up front to keep them from overpowering us, and we need to pick the throwing lanes. Some teams will practice with big bags in front of the quarterback, to force him to slide to find the throwing window.

How did we lose our tight end at practice?

It was a Thursday, not a lot of contact. Brandon Williams only played one year of high school football, he was in the band. He came here, was a defensive lineman last year, and he was tight end in the spring. He doesn't have a lot of experience, and on the turf he planted wrong and tore a tendon in his foot. It was a freak injury. So we moved Matt Desormeaux over.

In the pros, when it gets down the tight end's are out there knocking poeple down.

We don't pick, we rub. Picking is illegal, rubbing is not.

When we were 1st and goal at the 6 yard line, what happened?

We ran it the first down and got to the 2. The next snap there was a missed assignment. Then we tried to throw it and a receiver cluttered the window for the quarterback. So it was two missed assignments up front. And we didn't beat the man when we needed to.

The tying touchdown, the guy caught it in the endzone. Was the passer given too much time?

Normally when the defense is on the field, I'm trying to look at what the offense needs to do. I really didn't get into it much, so I didn't get a feel for that one. I looked up and it looked like he caught it with his feet on the line, but the referees called it a touchdown.

The thing about new plays, there are a lot of variables you didn't think about. That's why you want to stick to what you've doing. That FIU defense did a lot of twisting in the game, but that also leaves people out of position. But we couldn't hit the big plays to take advantage of it.

When you're recruiting, and a recruit is looking at other Louisiana schools, what do you say?

I talk about Lafayette. It's a great city, Monroe, Ruston, they can't compare, and Tulane does not have the support. To me, if you don't come here something's wrong with you. LSU's a different scenario, but anybody else? I can't see it.

What about our facilities?

There are only three indoor facilities in the state, UL, the Saints & LSU. Our weight room, locker room, our fields-- to me, there's no comparison. Some people are looking at improving our housing situation, some of the floors are being redone in the Conference Center.

I'm originally from Arkansas, for me it's a no brainer.

Our backs are against the wall, I like it like that. People don't think we can do it, good. I'm not like that, I like the challenge.

ASU doesn't give up a lot of big plays. When I see a new team, I take the film and sort the biggest plays a team has given up, so I can see what's hurt them in the pass. They gave up a 57 yard play to ULM, and they gave up another one of about 40 yards, and the next one is from our game last year. They don't give up a lot of long plays.

So it's not going to be easy. We're going to see.