The Ragin' Cajuns of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette have one of the best nicknames in college football. Sadly for the Cajuns', the history of the former Southwestern Louisiana in football doesn't matchup. Under coach Rickey Bustle, the Cajuns have won as many as six games three times in his seven years in Lafayette...which actually is an improvement for Cajun football. 2009 looks like a step back for Cajun football.
2009 represents a good news/bad news situation on both sides of the ball. On offense, the Cajuns return all five starters on the offensive line, led by guard Brad Bustle and center Chris Fisher. Bustle, the coach's son, and Fisher were all-Sun Belt last season. However, the Cajuns will need to replace Sun Belt offensive player of the year quarterback Michael Desormeaux, four time 1000 yard rusher Tyrell Fenroy, and their top receiver Jason Chery. Desormeaux will be replaced by either Brad McGuire or Chris Masson. McGuire started against Arkansas State last season when Desormeaux was injured. McGuire missed the spring game with an injury, allowing Masson to shine in the scrimmage. Fenroy will likely be replaced by senior Undrea Sailes, who only rushed for 77 yards last season. The passing game may turn to tight ends Ladarius Green and Luke Aubrey.
The good news on defense is they return eight starters. The bad news on defense is that they weren't very good last season, ranking 105th in total defense in 2008. Some of that can be blamed on injuries to linebacker Grant Fleming and safety Maurice Rolle. Healthy, they'll certainly be able to contribute. The leader on defense is linebacker Antwyne Zanders, a two-time all-Sun Belt player. The Cajun defense won't overpower anybody, but their speed matches up as well or better than any defense in the Sun Belt Conference.
The Cajuns have too many question marks going into this season to be considered a serious threat in 2009. 2010 might be a different situation though. If the Cajuns don't find answers early in the season, September will end on a sour note after back-to-back visits to Baton Rouge and Lincoln.