To understand just how bad UL-Lafayette’s pass defense has been in recent weeks, watch a few quarterbacks go through a pro day workout sometime.
If they’re going through a pro day workout, they are likely at least a marginal NFL prospect. Yet even going against nothing but the climate-controlled air of an indoor practice facility, they’ll find a way to fire incomplete passes.
They’re rare, but they happen.
The Cajuns defense is supposed to be out there preventing quarterbacks from completing passes. They are literally out there to be a tougher medium for a pass to go through than air.
The results? Air is looking good right about now.
Last week against Ole Miss, Bo Wallace completed his first 14 passes against a soft Cajuns pass defense, rolling up almost 300 passing yards by halftime.
The effort was so off-putting that Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth hinted this week that the Cajuns would be changing up some things they do from a coverage standpoint. He used the word “soft” and said that he wanted to see his guys get more aggressive.
Might want to go back to the drawing board, coach.
Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick saw Wallace’s 14 and raised him another, completing his first 15 passes of Saturday’s contest, a 34-9 win for the Broncos.
That Hedrick. He is such a one-upper.
Hedrick ended up completing 17 of 20 passes in the first half for 189 yards as he directed the Broncos to a 21-3 halftime lead.
That huge halftime lead is a titanic problem for a Cajuns team that sorely lacks playmakers on offense with wideout Jamal Robinson on the shelf. But falling behind early has been a bit of a habit for the Cajuns lately.
Here are the lines for opposing quarterbacks in the first quarter of the last three games.
— Louisiana Tech’s Cody Sokol went 3-for-4 for 32 yards.
— Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace went 10-for-10 for 178 yards.
— Hedrick went 7-for-7 for 91 yards.
I’ll do the math for you: In the last three games, opposing quarterbacks have gone 20-for-21 for 301 yards in the first quarter against the Cajuns.
The Cajuns simply cannot hope to compete this year until they find a solution to their woes defending the pass. Things should not be this easy for opposing quarterbacks.
But wait; there’s more.
It’s not just the pass defense, though that’s easier to pick out fancy numbers for.
By the time the second quarter was just three minutes old, Boise running back Jay Ajayi had already rolled up his third rushing touchdown.
He topped 100 yards by halftime, breaking tackles as if they were nothing at all. Of course, a running back will simply run forever if he’s running against air, but the Cajuns defense wasn’t much better Saturday night.
Ajayi wasn’t alone. The Broncos racked up 262 yards on the ground, making them the third team in a row to gain at least 210 yards on the ground against the Cajuns.
So, to recap: A pass defense that’s been sieve-like, and a run defense that hasn’t been much better.
Something’s got to change, because what the Cajuns have going right now isn’t working much better than not having anybody out there at all.