Despite the 10-point loss to Mississippi State in the season opener, the Ragin’ Cajun’s defense played with mid-season confidence and composure. While anything short of a win is not what the Cajuns expect, the growth in the defense is evident.
“You can see that we are a lot more sound fundamentally, and we have made improvements,” head coach Billy Napier says.
“You have to remember it’s the first game,” defensive back Michael Jacquet says. “Mistakes are going to happen. There are a lot of young guys out there. They are playing in a crazy environment. We expected mistakes and we are going to clean those up. I feel like the sky is the limit for this team.”
“I think last year we did not know what to expect,” linebacker Jacques Boudreaux says. “Obviously it was the first year. There is no time for that anymore. This is our second year in the system. That is not the excuse anymore. We go out there, this defense as a whole. We’re gelled together. We’re meshed. I say it all the time, but it is very true. We go out there, all 11 men. We’re one unit. We are one group together. We go around and fly around the ball, and it’s evident on tape.”
While the biggest difference between Power 5 and Group of 5 teams is conditioning, that was not the case today. The Cajuns were primed and ready for the 4th quarter.
“We’ve got one of the best strength coaches in the country,” Napier says. “Mark Hocke and his staff do a tremendous job. We have sharpened our sword, and we had a sharp sword out there tonight. It’s those little things and details we got to get better.”
Coaches say the biggest improvement comes from week one to week two. That does not bode well for Liberty as they come to Cajun Field to take on the Ragin Cajuns next week.