Last Modified: Friday, November 02, 2012 12:02 AM
After being one of McNeese State’s most reliable pass catchers the last two seasons, Wes Briscoe has been an invisible man for the Cowboys this year — at least until Saturday’s 35-24 win over Stephen F. Austin.
Briscoe got back into the flow with a pair of catches for 34 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter.
“It felt great,” Briscoe said. “It’s kind of been a slow year for me. It’s just kind of the way the spot I’ve been in this year, the way defenses have seen us, it has not been our year.”
Last season he had 17 catches for 380 yards, finishing second on the team with an average of 42.2 yards per game.
Briscoe’s role as a receiver changed this season. Instead of being a security-blanket guy, he is on the outside running deep routes.
“We decided to move Darius Carey to the X-receiver, where Wes has played the last two years, because we have (Diontae) Spencer and (Ernest) Celestie on the inside,” said head coach Matt Viator. “We just haven’t done a good enough job of getting it out there.”
Going into the SFA game, Briscoe had three catches for 54 yards, though he also missed three games because of a hip pointer.
“It’s just kind of how this year’s been going for me. It’s been something to fight with my hip,” Briscoe said. “You could say it’s frustrating, but I’m trying to keep my head straight.”
Briscoe knew he’d have a chance to do some damage against the Lumberjacks.
“Going into this one we’d put in a couple more routes that we really hadn’t ran much this year,” Briscoe said. “They ran a lot of Cover 2. We knew we’d have a chance to get some balls. We put in some plays we hadn’t run in a while.”
Quarterback Cody Stroud said he is still paying attention to No. 85.
“Against Stephen F. they left the middle of the field open and he did a good job of getting in there and taking advantage
of that and making some plays for us,” Stroud said. “Hopefully he can keep making plays for us from here on out.”
With 21 turnovers gained to nine lost, McNeese has the fourth-best turnover margin in the nation.
Viator said the Cowboys are doing all of the things he sees from highly successful teams, which makes their three losses all the more frustrating.
“Some years when things don’t go your way, you can point to different things,” Viator said. “One is turnovers. Two is penalties. We’ve been the least-penalized team in the conference. Three, maybe you’re having off-field problems, we ain’t had a one. Four would be maybe not very good senior leadership, and our seniors are excellent. We just lost a couple close games that we should have won.”
Starting safety Ford Smesny will be out this week, replaced in the starting lineup by Chris Raggett. Backup tight end Kendale Thomas is also out, moving Manny Busch to the No. 2 spot and Hunter Romero to No. 3, if needed. Defensive linemen Chris Loveless and Michael Ware have also been limited by injuries.
Viator said the biggest impact of Thomas’ injury in particular comes on special teams, where he plays on all four units.
“We’re trying to piece together guys to play,” Viator said. “We’ve really been scrambling on that.”