This week, I had the opportunity to exchange some of these here word things with BJ Thompson of scout.com's Louisiana-Lafayette site, Cajun Redzone. BJ's also the host of the Cajun Redzone program on KLWB, 103.7 The Game in Lafayette, and this evening at around 6pm CT I'll be joining him on air to return the favor, so be sure to head to their web site and hit the magic Listen Live button to hear me rant and rave.
Introductions out of the way, let's get to Cajun footbaw.
Jon: So, a few years back the Ragin' Cajuns basically ruined K-State's season, and now you've got a chance to utterly destroy it. Does what happened to the Cats Friday night give you more hope, or is it the worst thing that could have happened? Do you think it will alter the game plan?
BJ: I don't expect to see the same teams this Saturday. First, I do expect to see some personnel changes in both teams starting units and I expect both teams to play better football. K-State is not as physical as Arkansas, so the Wildcats should be a better matchup for the Cajuns. K-State will probably open the passing attack against the Cajuns' young secondary which was exposed as the defense stacked the box against the run. I expect the Cajuns to play more up-tempo against K-State this week; they were much more successful when doing it against the Arkansas defense.
Jon: Our readers are sort of familiar with Terrance Broadway, but the rest of the roster may be a bit of a mystery. Who else should we be keeping an eye on?
BJ: The Cajuns have more talent at a number of positions than they had in 2009, the last time both teams played each other. The WR and TE positions are well stocked with athletes like WR Jamal Robinson, WR Darryl Surgent and TE Jason Maxwell. The Cajuns have 2 very good RB's in power back Alonzo Harris and freshman speed back Elijah McGuire. On defense, DT Justin Hamilton and DE Chris Ringo are very solid. MLB Justin Anderson is top tackler and P Daniel Cordona is averaging 43.6 per punt.
Jon: Tell us a little bit about Mark Hudspeth's general mindset. How does he approach the game on both sides of the ball, and how can we expect to see the Cajuns lining up?
BJ: Coach Hudspeth is a high energy guy, known for his pregame fire speeches. But he is also one of the most detailed oriented head coaches in the country, spends hours on game prep and the small things. There is a reason he is considered one of the top young coaches in NCAA football today. You can expect the Cajuns to come out in a 3 WR Spread and Zone Read at times. On defense, the Cajuns will run a 4-2-5 at times and 3-4 base as well, playing a lot of zone.
Jon: In bullet points, what went wrong at Fayetteville for your guys, and what went right?
BJ: Bottomline, the Cajuns allowed the Arkansas offense to wear them down running the ball right at the defense. The Cajuns answered several Arkansas drives, but failed to put points on the board, missed a field goal and a shot at a touchdown pass. Coming out of half time, UL went three-and-out on their first possession and allowed Arkansas several big plays on offense to jump ahead by 3 scores. At that point, the Cajun offense adandoned the run game and was not effective most of the second half of the game.
Bright spots were the special teams, with zero kickoff returns and a 43.6 average punting. Cajun running backs averaged 5 yards per carry while running the ball and the tight ends performed extremely well in the Redzone and Up-tempo offense.
Jon: Finally, how do you see this one playing out, and what do you see as the best- and worst-case scenarios?
BJ: Both teams will find ways to score against the opponent's defense. The Cajuns will mix in the running game more this week, which makes them more effective on offense. K-State will be able to go after the Cajuns secondary and find some big plays to help move their offense down field. I expect the team that wins the turnover battle and time of possession will when this game in the fourth quarter.
BJ didn't mention it in the e-mail portion of the Q&A, but did indicate during a phone conversation this afternoon to prepare for tonight's spot that speed in the linebacking corps may be just as much a concern for the Cajuns as it is for the Cats, so keep an eye on that as well.
Big thanks to BJ for being so accommodating, and be sure to listen in tonight while I make a complete fool of myself on the wireless radio device thingy.