LAFAYETTE — When Christian Ringo returned a fumble 41 yards for a touchdown in Louisiana-Lafayette’s 34-10 win over Texas State two weeks ago, it sparked a fire in the senior defensive lineman — and the rest of the line as well.
Ringo battled injury last year and struggled to get going earlier this season, but the past two games — both Cajuns wins — have included Ringo playing at perhaps the highest level of his college career. UL-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth said he thinks playing with a four-man front has opened things up for Ringo.
“We’re playing a little more four-down and now he’s one-on-one, not gettingdouble-teamed,” Hudspeth said. “He’s hard to stop one-on-one. He’s got a relentless motor, plays really hard and really strong. I’m glad I don’t have to block that guy.”
Ringo said he couldn’t really put his finger on why he has elevated his game as of late, but he said he is far from a finished product.
“I believe we practice harder and get better, and we found a look that fits us right now,” Ringo said. “I guess I’m just in the right place and right spot, but everything in my game can be polished up. I haven’t arrived.”
Hudspeth said Ringo’s ability to get in the backfield is making the secondary better as opposing quarterbacks have less time to survey the field. Cajuns linebacker Boris Anyama said he thinks Ringo is responding to coaching better than he has in the past.
“And he knows this is his last year, so he has to produce,” Anyama said. “He’s playing incredible.”
Ringo acknowledged his senior season is quickly coming to an end and especially his last few games playing with fellow senior lineman Justin Hamilton. Ringo and Hamilton came in as freshmen together, and both said they share a bond on and off the field.
“It is special to know I have only a couple more times to stand in there next to him on the line,” Ringo said. “These are memories that I will have for the rest of my life, and I cherish them.”
Hamilton said he will sometimes get more hyped up than Ringo will if Ringo makes a big play and vice versa. Hamilton said they share a bond on the field that is tough to duplicate anywhere in the country.
“We live together, and we’ve been together since we got here,” Hamilton said. “It is emotional out there to see him make a big play and get hyped up. Once we see each other doing well, we get a vibe from each other, and that energy we have together can’t really be stopped.”
Hudpseth said Ringo will become a great ambassador for the school after he is done playing. Ringo said his last few games will be emotional, but he’s relishing the moment.
“We are just trying to take advantage of every moment we got,” he said. “We know this is our last go around, and we are just trying to have more success for this program.”