Monday, August 30, 2010

La-La Scouting Report Part 1: Offense

PhotobucketNeedless to say, we are fairly excited about the start of the Dawgs' 2010 season. Unfortunately, we face a team involving a hyphen for our first game (Louisiana-Lafayette). But it's no matter. The buzz surrounding the new QB, new coaching staff, and the new season supersedes the fact that the game kicks off at 12:21 in 154 degree temperatures. But why speculate? Let's hear Buck and Kincade's take on the game:

Fake Buck: "I tell ya Johnny, I got the goosebumps workin' already. Can you feel it Johnny? Can you feel the buzz? I think they can feel it up in North Ave as well Johnny."

Fake Kincade: "Buck. Buck. Seriously? Do you really think this game is THAT exciting? I mean, it's gonna be blazing hot, the game is an early afternoon kickoff, and quite frankly, I think the new QB and new defense could be a little rusty. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited but...I don't know Buck...."

Regardless of your opinion on the importance of this game, one thing is for sure -- we can't take ANY team lightly so...we did a more than thorough examination of the artist formerly known as 'Southwestern Louisiana, 'Southwestern Louisiana Institute', and is currently also known as 'University of Louisiana':

Team Overview: Last year the Rajun Cajuns went 6-6, and 4-4 in the Sun Belt Conference. They are coached by former Va. Tech OC Ricky Bustle, who is 38-56 at La-La and is entering his ninth season as the team's head coach. The team returns 13 starters this year (5 offense, 8 defense) as well as the kicker and punter. They played three BCS teams last year, beating Kansas St. 17-15, and losing to LSU and Nebraska, by a score of 31-3 and 55-0 respectively.

Type of offense: La-La is statistically pretty balanced on offense, attemping 460 rushes and 406 passes last year, and averaged 136.92 yards rushing and 224.8 yards passing per game. They run a spread offense, almost always lining up in shotgun with at least 3 wide receivers. They scored 22.2 points-per-game, which ranked 93rd nationally, and averaged 361.8 yards of total offense per game, which ranked 76th nationally.

Now, we're going to take a closer look at their offensive personnel (defense tomorrow). Let's start with the QBs:

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Quarterbacks:
#7 Chris Masson (6-2 201 JR) will return the starter this year. Last season, he threw for 2406 yards, completed 59.5% of his passes, and had a TD:INT ratio of 10:8. He also ran for 192 yards on 62 carries. Masson never threw for 200 yards against the three BCS teams they faced last year, and never hit 300 yards passing against any team. Generally, Masson favored the tight ends (featured later), who were the team's top two receivers last year. The backup is #17 Blaine Gautier who only attempted 17 passes last year.

Running Backs: The Cajuns will likely split carries between Freshman #6 Robert Walker (5-7 179) and Junior #33 Julian Shankle (5-10 202), who doesn't have a ton of experience either, rushing for only 38 yards all of last year. Also returning is fullback #26 Yobes Walker (5-11 200) who is actually the team's leading returning rusher (412 yards). They lose their leading rusher from last year in Undrea Salis (446 yards).

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: The top returning receiver from last year in terms of yards is TE #89 Ladarius Green (6-6 225), who had 32 receptions for 533 yards and two TDs. In my opinion, Green is Lafayette's best offensive player. They also return WR #19 Marlin Miller (5-11 177), who had 37 rec. for 325 yds 2 TDs.
Other returning wide receivers are #81 Richie Falgout (18 rec. 221 yds), #18 Andrew Joseph (22 rec. 178 yds), and #3 Pierre Hill (14 rec. 174 yds). They lose tight end Luke Aubry, who led the team in receptions with 41, and had 456 yds and 3 TDs.

Offensive Line: In my opinion, this is going to be the weakest part of Lafayette's team. They only return 2 starters on the offensive line (C#60 Ian Burks and RT#73 Jonathan Decoster), and as a team only averaged 3.57 yards per carry last year, which ranked 94th nationally. The spread offense helped keep the sack totals down (14 times all last year) as they prefer quick passes and allow the QB to get out of the pocket often. In addition to Burks and Decoster, the other projected starters are LT#60 Colin Windsor, LG#72 Leonardo Bates, and RG#70 Evan Ruiz. They do have 65 combined starts as a unit, despite the fact that they lost 3 starters from last year's team.

Place Kicker: They return place kicker #10 Tyler Albrecht who was 8/11 on field goal attempts, and had a long of 49 yards against Western Kentucky. He also hit the game winning FG with 32 seconds left against Kansas State last year, which was 48 yards.

Here is the summary of Lafayette's projected offensive starters for 2010:

QB: #7 Chriss Masson-Jr.
RB: #6 Robert Walker-Fr./#33 Julian Shankle-Jr.
FB: #26 Yobes Walker-So.
WR: #19 Marlin Miller-Sr./#18 Andrew Joseph-Jr.
WR: #3 Pierre Hill-Jr./#81 Richie Falgout-Sr.
TE: #89 Ladarius Miller-Sr.
LT: #51 Colin Windsor-Sr.
LG: #72 Leonardo Bates-So.
C: #60 Ian Burks-Sr.
RG: #70 Evan Ruiz-So.
RT: #73 Jonathan Decoster-Sr.
PK: #10 Tyler Albrecht-Sr.

Now that we know the ins and outs of the offense, tomorrow, Martin Van Dawgin will give a detailed scouting report on Louisiana-Lafayette's defense, which should be the strength of the team.

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