2008 LA Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns Betting Preview July 16th, 2008
By: Matt Fargo
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No. 114 LA Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
2007 Record ~ 3-9 SU ~ 4-6-1 ATS
Starters Returning ~ Offense (8) Defense (6)
Since Rickey Bustle took over as head coach in 2002, it was five straight seasons of at least equaling its win total from the previous season but La-Lafayette went the other way last season, producing only three wins. While that may seem like a program on the decline, it could have just been an aberration. Injuries played a role in the descent as well as the Cajuns being the 7th youngest team in the country. This could be a huge rebound year but I will hold off on that until the defense finds a way to stop teams.
The Cajuns have one of the most lethal running games but it means little when there is no passing game to speak of. Quarterback Michael Desormeaux and tailback Tyrell Fenroy led them to a rushing offense ranking of 7th in the nation as the Cajuns averaged 252 ypg and 5.6 ypc. Both are back as well as four of the offensive linemen and a repeat attack is expected. The problem is that Desormeaux led the offense to just 155.5 ypg through the air, 115th in the country. Somehow, balance needs to be achieved for success.
While balance is a concern, the defense is an even bigger one. It finished 106th in scoring defense, 113th in rushing defense and 104th in total defense. Things do not look better however. The Cajuns allowed 228 ypg and 5.0 ypc on the ground and that was with two All-SBC linemen in the fold and both have since left. Both ends and all three linebackers are returning so there is some hope. Opposing quarterbacks completed 50 percent of their passes in every game last year so the secondary needs to improve immensely.
The schedule does not do La-Lafayette many favors to get a strong start. Five of the first six games are on the road with three of those at Southern Mississippi, Illinois and Kansas St. as well as the first two conference tussles. Four of the final six games are at home but one of those is UTEP. Facing SBC favorites Florida Atlantic and Troy on the road is a tough task. This is a team that has the potential to surprise so keep an eye on what happens early on. A couple early covers could mean a solid run so stay alert.
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