UL Ragin' Cajuns vs. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers: Five to watch

Tim Buckley
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

Five to watch when No. 21 UL plays host to Coastal Carolina on Wednesday (ESPN, 6:30 p.m.) …


Usual starting right tackle Max Mitchell missed UL’s Sept. 26 win over Georgia Southern due to COVID-19 issues, so redshirt junior Carlos Rubio got his first start as a Cajun.

But now Mitchell is listed as an “OR” starter at left tackle with usual starter Zach Robertson, and Rubio is listed as “OR” starter at right tackle with Jax Harrington.

Robertson’s usual backup, Spencer Gardner, isn’t on the depth chart this week and isn’t listed as injured either.

UL coach Billy Napier indicated Mitchell’s move to the left side, where he began last season, isn’t permanent. But he wouldn’t elaborate on why the move was made now, so keep an eye on what’s happening on the Ragin’ Cajuns’ offensive line.

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There could be changes along the offensive line for the Ragin' Cajuns when UL plays Coastal Carolina on Wednesday night.

“That’s relative to who’s available, who’s healthy,” Napier said. “A lot of things contribute to that.

“It’s a product of that maybe more than ‘Is that what we want to do long-term?’ We’re just trying to position the players to what’s in the interest of the team each week, and that’s what we’ll always do.”


Jerrod Clark weighed about 250 pounds playing for his Boston-area high school, but the ex-tight end is up to 335 or so now and is something to see at nose for Coastal Carolina.

“Really we were just moving him around just to try to get something out of him,” Chanticleers coach Jamey Chadwell said of finding a position for Clark to play in the spring of 2019. “We tried offensive line a little bit.

“I said you’re going to either lose weight and we’re going to try to move you back to tight end, or we’re going to throw you at d-line and see what happens.”

After missing last season with a foot injury, he’s producing with 10 total tackles now.

“He worked himself into shape and he came back as a new person with a new attitude,” Chadwell said. “His grades are great, the girls are actually talking to him now, his whole dynamic’s changed for him and he’s been big for us.”

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Starter Elijah Mitchell, who ran for 164 yards including UL’s game-winning touchdown in overtime at Georgia State, missed the Georgia Southern game with COVID-19 issues too.

But Mitchell’s back, and it will be interesting to see if he returns to form as UL’s other NFL-prospect running back – Trey Ragas, who has one TD run in all three games so far this season – seeks his first 100-yard rushing game of the year.

Ragas has been bottled up a bit with 52 or fewer yards in each outing of 2020, but he has 11 career 100-yard rushing games of his own including three last season and seven in 2018.

Dynamic duo:UL's Ragas, Mitchell NFL Draft material

Related:Mitchell leaves no doubt in UL OT win at Georgia State


With at least one catch in all 12 games last season and 32 on the year, and seven catches already this season through just three games for 215 yards, an average of 30.71 yards per reception, it’s easy to understand why Napier considers Coastal Carolina’s Isaiah Likely an all-conference-type.

Chadwell does too.

“He’s a special player, especially at this level,” said Chadwell, who considers Likely an NFL prospect, “and I believe he’s the best in the Sun Belt.”

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Look to see how UL fared if presented with a 2-minute (or less) situation, because the Cajuns have handled it with varying results to date.

In the first half of a season-opening win at Iowa State, UL got the ball at it own 28 with 1:10 to go and came up with a 30-yard Nate Snyder field goal. In the same situation at Georgia State, quarterback Levi Lewis was picked off. And when UL got the ball near midfield with 2:39 left in the fourth quarter against the Panthers, Lewis wound up getting sacked on fourth down of its first possession.

But Lewis drove the Cajuns into position for Snyder’s 53-yard game-winning field goal as time expired a week later against Georgia Southern, and Napier liked how that went.

More:Watch Louisiana's game-winning 53-yard field goal vs. Georgia Southern

“We had (54) seconds left when we got the ball and didn’t have our timeouts,” he said. “We were able to move the ball.

“I thought the quarterback did a good job. We had some young receivers step up (and) Trey Ragas made a couple of key run after catch plays.”

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