WHAT WE LEARNED
The fact that UL’s ground attack put up 407 rushing yards isn’t a huge surprise. No one ever questioned the Cajuns’ three-headed monster in the backfield. On Saturday, though, the defense gave UL fans some solid reasons to believe better days are ahead for that unit. Not only did the defense get off the field on third and fourth down, it provided pressure on the quarterback when it blitzed and when it didn’t. The defense also put on a clinic at times in the secondary with its tackling.
Perhaps the most obvious upgrade on the Cajuns' defense is its new uncanny ability to dial up a blitz exactly when opposing offenses aren’t ready for it. Coach Billy Napier praised defensive coordinator Ron Roberts for how well his unit is disguising its blitzes. Napier also pointed to the increased in speed on defense to help supply pressure. Even better, when a blitz isn’t called, defensive end Chauncey Manac showed the ability to attack quarterbacks on his own.
Napier has made it very clear over his first two seasons as UL’s coach that he doesn’t particularly believe in running his quarterback. With that said, Levi Lewis had a few well-time called runs in the first game. On Saturday, UL’s offense was finally able to break through after two straight failed trips into enemy territory when Lewis kept it for a 19-yard called run right up the middle. There’s simply not enough downfield passing – at least not yet – to totally abandon the threat Lewis brings with his legs.