Being 'unselfish' is the key for Cajuns receiving corps

Tim Buckley
The Daily Advertiser

Five things to watch when UL plays Texas State on Thursday night ...

UL's Keenan Barnes hauls in a pass against Southeastern Louisiana earlier this season. He is UL's leading receiver with 26 catches for 335 yards heading into Thursday night's game against Texas State.


Which Ragin’ Cajuns receiver — or perhaps receivers, plural — will put up the big numbers when UL plays host to Texas State on Thursday night?

Watch to see, because your guess could be as good as anyone’s.

It could be wideout Keenan Barnes, who had 100-plus yard games at Tulsa and Texas A&M but just one catch for 6 yards in last Saturday’s win at Idaho.

The junior is already five catches away from matching his total from last season, 31, and just 83 yards away from tying his 2016 total of 418.

It could be wideout Ja’Marcus Bradley, who has nine catches over UL’s last two games, including five for 93 yards with a 45-yard touchdown against the Vandals.

It could be slot man Ryheem Malone, who had eight catches for 119 yards — most by any Cajun receiver this season — and a team high-tying five for 80 yards at Idaho.

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It could be Michael Jacquet or Jarrod Jackson, who both had seven catches against UL Monroe, or even tight end Chase Rogers, who has four receptions over UL’s last three outings combined.

The reason it could be any of them, Malone said, is because each pulls for all of the others, knowing that in UL’s offense “your time will come,” and that “this game the ball might not find you, or it might find you.”

“We’re just unselfish,” Malone added, “so we do a good job of helping each other out and getting each other open.”

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Keep track of Texas State quarterback Damien Williams, who is 79-of-146 this season for 895 yards and four touchdowns along with four interceptions.

A graduate transfer from Mississippi State, where he appeared in 17 games with one start and previously played behind current Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Williams also has four rushing TDs this year and a season-long run of 30 yards.  

“He makes them go,” UL coach Mark Hudspeth said of Williams, a product of Archbishop Rummel High in Metairie.

“He can throw the deep ball, the play-action. He can run the football. He’s a really good player.”

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UL’s defense had its best game of the season at Idaho last Saturday, led by their top two tacklers, inside linebackers T.J. Posey and Jacques Boudreaux, and defensive end Joe Dillon.

Look to see how successful those two are again, and if they are what the Cajun front four is up to — because that’s what freed up Posey and Boudreaux against the Vandals.

“Us attacking helps him,” defensive end Trev Miller said of Posey. “It opens it up a little more, and he’s able to make those plays.”

“We speeded the defensive linemen up, and that’s what they’re really good at,” Boudreaux added. “Having them in the right position really allows me and T.J.’s job to be a lot easier to make plays.”

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How so?

Having to focus so much on the defensive linemen leaves less time for attention on the two inside linebackers.

“It allows me and Posey to just sit back and really see what happens up front,” Boudreaux said.

“They let our d-line attack more,” Posey added with reference to Cajun coaches at Idaho, “and that cleared it up for me and Jacques. Those guys up front did most of the work, so it made it easy.”

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Look out for Texas State inside linebackers Bryan London II and Gabe Loyd, who work behind an odd-man front.

London has a team-high 45 tackles, and Loyd is second with 42 including 4.5 for loss with 2.5 sacks.

“I think (Loyd) is one of the top linebackers in the conference,” Hudspeth said. “He’s a very physical player. He’s a guy that will hunt you up.”

But the Cajuns can’t lose track of Texas State’s outside linebackers, either, as Frankie Griffin has 7.0 TFLs including 3.0 sacks and Easy Anyama, brother of ex-Cajuns linebacker Boris Anyama, has 3.0 sacks as well.


UL controlled the ball for 30 minutes and five seconds at Idaho, a season-best.

Ball control again will be a key Thursday night, as the Cajuns have been struggling with time of possession at just 28:18 on per-game average.

So watch that time tick.

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