Five Keys to Beating Tulane – From the Bird’s Nest
It's time for the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns to hit the road for the first time this year, but they aren't going very far.
Louisiana (2-1, 1-0 Sun Belt) is heading a couple of hours east to New Orleans where they will take on Tulane at Yulman Stadium Saturday night at 7:00 pm. It's the first meeting of the two squads since the 2013 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, won by the Cajuns. It's the first regular season meeting in the Crescent City since 1999, a 48-32 win by the Green Wave.
The Cajuns have won two straight. If they're going to make it three, here are five things that need to happen.
RUN THE FOOTBALL--Tulane's front seven is solid and it's one of the key matchups of the day. The Cajuns O-line has gotten better each week, but this is the toughest test since week one. The Cajuns must be successful running the football. This will be easier said than done. Tulane doesn't have a ton of depth up front on defense, which could work to the Cajuns' advantage with their fast tempo.
DON'T GET ROCKED TO SLEEP--Tulane doesn't throw it much, and they don't have a great percentage throwing the football. But Louisiana has to be aware, especially when Johnathan Brantley is in at quarterback. He's been the more effective passer and is capable if the Cajuns are ignoring the passing possibilities.
STAY WITH YOUR ASSIGNMENTS---The Cajuns have been preparing for Tulane by practicing without a football in order to stress the importance of playing disciplined, assignment football. Big plays happen in the option game when a defender gets duped by a fake. One defender has the responsibility for the quarterback, one has the running back and one has the pitch man. Stay with your guy.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MAN COVERAGE--With the aggressive front seven, Tulane is going to play a lot of man coverage in the secondary. There will be some big play possibilities, especially in non passing downs or off play-action IF the Cajuns are having success running the football (which is why that key is listed first.)
DON'T MISS OPPORTUNITIES--I'm not expecting this to be a high scoring game. The winning team will make the most of its opportunities. Last week the Cajuns missed on two extra points and a field goal, failed to get points after a turnover in South Alabama territory, and finished minus-one in the turnover margin. They will not win the game if they do that again this week.
The Cajuns are five point road underdogs this week. But this is a winnable game. The margin for error, however, is slim. The Cajuns play a lot of youngsters. Let's see how the newcomers handle their first road trip of the season.