The Georgia Bulldogs will face off against the Ragin' Cajuns in less than a week.
Do you know all you need to know about their Sun Belt opponent?
By now, you might know everything you wish to know but just for good measure, here's 10 more little nuggets about this program out of the Bayou:
1. They run a multiple 4-3 defense.
In the spring of 2004, the Cajuns switched their defensive scheme from a multiple eight-man front (a scheme that is aggressive up-front but can typically give up a lot of big plays in the secondary) to a multiple 4-3. This scheme allows the front-seven to play aggressively, while keeping the play of the secondary more conservative—hopefully guarding against the big play.
2. They return 16 starters (7 offensive and 9 defensive).
The Cajuns are set on offense. They bring back the bulk of their players, but will have to replace three starters on the offensive line. However, QB Chris Masson is not worried about the lines experience, saying, "In our scheme, line play is just about communicating and our guys do a great job of that". That said, last season's unit was one of the best in the nation at protecting their quarterback, allowing only 13 sacks on the year.
3. They haven't won more than six games in a season since 1993.
Louisiana has been bowl eligible four times in the last five seasons, but haven't been able to secure a bowl bid. It is aiming for seven-wins this season—hoping that will be enough to seal the deal. It will need to do so, including an upset of one of their four non-conference opponents—that did it for Kansas State in 2009, can they do it this year too?
Their three other out-of-conference opponents in 2010 are Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, and Ohio.
4. "Don't Call Us Lafayette —We Are Not Lafayette College in Easton, Pa!"
According to the Louisiana Football Prospectus, the Cajuns don't take too kindly to being referred to as "Lafayette;" they wish to be identified athletically as Louisiana, Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, Ragin' Cajuns, or just the Cajuns.
5. Their motto on defense is "TNT".
Louisiana likes tackles and turnovers (TNT) from its defense—what team doesn't, right? However, the linebacker unit has made it their mission to make the most of that motto. Last season, the defense made a respectable improvement from the year prior—allowing seven less points per contest. Still, it gave up more than 30.0 ppg as a whole so there is still room for improvement.
6. Georgia is paying the Cajuns $875,000 to play them at Sanford.
The Bulldogs and Ole Miss are the two SEC teams that the Cajuns will play in 2010—Ole Miss will pay $700,000. Said UL athletic director, David Walker, "It's good for our kids to be in those stadiums that have so much tradition and a large fanbase...playing SEC teams is a challenge for them, but it's also fun."
This is the first meeting between the two programs—ever.
7. The Cajuns aren't a very good kick return team.
Last season, UL ranked almost dead last in kick returns (118th in the nation), posting a paltry 18.0 yards per return and zero touchdowns. While it did boast one of the more experienced kicking units in the country, it does not have a lot of overall team speed and have yet to tab a big time return man on special teams.
8. They have trouble scoring.
The Cajuns scored an average of 22.2 points per game (ppg) in 2009—that was with an experienced offensive line. They have higher hopes for this season with more talent emerging at running back but there is still a great deal of uncertainty as to how effective it will be.
9. They were one of the least penalized teams in the nation in 2009.
Last season, the Cajuns committed 66 penalties for 590-yards. They were ranked No. 1 in the conference—39th in the nation. Despite the aggressive style of the multiple 4-3 they run, they still play a very disciplined brand of football on the field. They are not a careless bunch. By stark contrast, Georgia committed 105 penalties for 878-yards—good enough for 113th in the country—hopefully that trend ends this season.
10. TE Ladarius Green is a weapon that needs to be respected by the secondary.
Green is listed as a TE, but he has sub-4.5 speed and, at 6'6", 230 lbs, posing a problem for any DB trying to keep up with him in man-to-man coverage. Last season, he routinely made life difficult for LSU's Chad Jones (6'2", 221 lb safety), and might be a primary target for Masson in this opening match-up. He's definitely a pro-level prospect and you can expect to see the Georgia secondary giving him plenty attention.
(This article appears courtesy of The Lady Sportswriter)