McNeese State junior Terence Cahee, of Westlake. (American Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 06, 2012 7:24 PM
Despite a pair of key injuries, McNeese State’s secondary has been one of the primary reasons for the Cowboys’ mid-year resurgence.
Playing without senior safeties Malcolm Bronson and Ford Smesny, McNeese has picked off six passes in its wins over Stephen F. Austin and Nicholls State. Five different players have made those interceptions, including linebacker Bo Brown.
“Defensively we’ve bent a little bit, but we made really big plays,” said coach Matt Viator.
The new main man in the middle of the defensive backfield is junior Terence Cahee of Westlake.
Cahee picked up his second Southland Conference defensive player of the week honor this season for his 10 tackles and interception against the Colonels. One of those tackles was a highlight-reel variety smashing of Nicholls backup quarterback Beaux Hebert on a scramble up the middle of the field.
“It’s phenomenal what he’s done, and thank goodness he has because of the injuries we’ve had back there,” said Viator. “He’s continued to stay on special teams. In terms of him tackling, pass defending, he’s kind of been the guy that has taken Malcolm’s spot since he’s lining them up and is kind of the emotional guy back there.”
Cahee is McNeese’s leader with 83 tackles and 11 passes broken up. But he’s also become a leader in the locker room.
“He’s extremely competitive. To me that’s his best quality,” Viator said. “When things weren’t going well, he didn’t mind speaking up a little bit, which I like.”
Cahee is not the only one stepping up. He said senior Chris Raggett brings valuable veteran experience to the table.
“He’s a pretty good player, and he’s stepped in for Ford,” Cahee said. “I think he picked up pretty well and will continue to.”
Young guys are chipping in too.
Ryan Bronson has grown more comfortable filling his older brother’s shoes as the season has progressed. With an interception in each of the last two games, he’s now tied with Guy Morgan for the team lead (3).
“I’ve definitely had more snaps now than when I started,” Ryan said. “But we’re just all working together back there. We all complement each other.”
If McNeese wants to keep its playoff hopes alive at Texas-San Antonio this weekend, the secondary may have to make big plays against a team not prone to mistakes. Roadrunners quarterback Eric Soza has only thrown one interception this season, which gives this ball-hawking group one of its biggest challenges.
“We’ve got to make the most of our opportunities,” said senior Seth Thomas. “When the ball is in the air, we have to go get it. We’re going to have opportunities. We just have to keep playing the way we’ve been doing.”