The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.
No. 115: Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
Spring Practice Starts: March 13
Spring Game: April 21
Louisiana Spring Status
The Ragin’ Cajuns hit a wee bit of a rut. A perennial bowl team and a player in the Sun Belt race, the program struggled over the second half of last year, the defense went bye-bye, and the season finished with a 5-7 Thud, losing to Georgia Southern and Appalachian State in the final two games to miss out on bowl eligiblity.
Out went head coach Mark Hudspeth, and in comes Billy Napier, a great get for the program considering he should probably be the Arizona State head man right now.
One of the rising stars in the coaching world, many were hoping he’d stay on at ASU after Todd Graham was fired in an assistant head coach sort of way, but now he gets to run his own gig.
While he’s a great offensive mind, he has the most work to do on a bad defense that lost most of its top talent, while also boosting up the O.
Louisiana Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Quarterback. It was never quite figured out last year with nine different players throwing a pass. Now, six quarterbacks are in the mix, there weren’t any picked up in the recruiting class, and it’ll be a Battle Royale for the gig.
According to Napier, it’s a “clean slate” for all of the options. Andre Nunez had the most success in his limited time, Jordan Davis led the way with the most yards, and Levi Lewis got a chance to show what he could do late in the season. But everyone will get a shot to be Napier’s guy.
Louisiana Biggest Issue
Third down defense. The D was among the worst in the nation last year, and it got worse as the season went on, allowing close to 500 yards per outing. And now, five of the top eight tacklers – and seven of the top 12 – are gone.
Three of the starters have to be replaced up front, and three starters in the secondary are gone from a D that couldn’t get off the field. Offenses converted a whopping 49% of their third down tries again the Ragin’ Cajun defense.
Louisiana Biggest Positive
Rushing production. Helped by the quarterbacks, the ground game wasn’t all that bad. It was among the best in the Sun Belt and did a decent job on a regular basis. Trey Ragas led the team with 813 yards and nine scores in his freshman season, and there are a whole slew of young backs behind him ready to show what they can do.
Really, Why Are The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Ranked Here?
Napier is going to turn this around fast, but the defense has a long, long way to go. Expect the Ragin’ Cajuns to try winning games in shootouts until the new guys can figure out what they’re doing on the defensive side. However, if everything starts to come together quickly in spring ball, the program can be back to its bowling ways again.