Five Keys to Beating McNeese State – From the Bird’s Nest
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns and McNeese Cowboys meet on the gridiron for only the second time in the last 30 years this Saturday night at Cajun Field. The Cowboys won the last meeting between the two teams, 38-17 back in 2007.
If the Cajuns don't want to see deja vu, here are some things to keep in mind.
CAN SOMEONE BLOCK SOMEONE, PLEASE? -- It's something the Cajuns didn't do very well last week on offense. At all. The line didn't block. The receivers didn't block. Nobody blocked. The Cajuns need to block. This is especially true this week as the Cajuns try to deal with McNeese nose tackle Isaiah Golden a transfer from Texas A&M who is as good as any defensive lineman the Cajuns will face this year. Jennings must have time to set and throw, there must be holes for Elijah McGuire to run through, and the bubble screens have to be effective. B-L-O-C-K please. Thank you.
YOU GOTTA RUSH THE PASSER--It was a problem for the Cajuns last year and again last week against Boise State. James Tabary is not a mobile quarterback. The Cajuns have to get after him. You'd like to be able to do it with the guys up front, but if you have to bring more guys, bring them. Do not let the quarterback get comfortable back there.
FLIP FIELD POSITION--The one solid performance from the Cajuns last week was the kicking game. Use it as a weapon. Get a return in the kickoff and/or punt game. Use Coutts as a weapon when you have to punt. And, most importantly, stay away from turnovers. While McNeese is not a bad offensive team, make them show they can drive the ball. Do not give them a short field to work with.
OPEN THE PLAYBOOK--The Cajuns didn't run the zone read last week, nor did they run any counter plays. If McNeese is going to flock to the football (and they are), do things that will make the Cowboys pay for over-pursuit. Make them think twice about their defense and then attack.
CLEAN THINGS UP--The Cajuns had ten penalties last week, which is about twice as much as they should have in a game. The goal should be to keep penalty yardage to 40 or less.
After last week, we could probably come up with more areas where the Cajuns need to be better. But if they do these things, they'll leave the field much happier than the 2007 team did.