McNeese State's two-time all-Southland Conference offensive guard Miguel Gauthreaux was granted a sixth year of eligibility due to previous injuries. (American Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 12:19 AM
The McNeese State football team opens camp today, the earliest the Cowboys have reported.
McNeese, which went 6-5 last season, expects 18 players with starting experience to report. The Cowboys will have nine returning starters on offense, eight on defense and a specialist to compliment the 53 lettermen.
Newcomers report at 8 a.m., while veterans will report at 6 p.m.
The Cowboys will hit the field for the first time at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday for a helmet-only practice. They will practice in shells on Friday and and will have their first full-pad practice on Sunday. The first two-a-day practice is set for Aug. 6 while the first scrimmage is set for 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 11.
The Cowboys' chances at breaking their playoff drought got better this offseason when two-time all-Southland Conference offensive guard Miguel Gauthreaux was granted a medical hardship and sixth year of eligibility.
On defense, the Cowboys have one of the top safeties in the Football Championship Subdivision in three-time, first-team all-Southland Conference selection Malcolm Bronson. The senior can become the fifth player in school history to be a first-team all-conference selection for four straight seasons. One of the other former Cowboys to pull it off was Malcolm's uncle, Zack Bronson, who played at McNeese from 1993-96 before an eight-year NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams.
Bronson, the team MVP last season after posting 90 tackles and three interceptions, has 237 tackles and 10 interceptions in three seasons as a Cowboy.
Along with Bronson, multipurpose threat Darius Carey is expected to lead the Cowboys.
Carey, in his second season at McNeese after transferring in from North Texas, lined up at wide receiver, tailback and returned kicks and punts. He led the team in all-purpose yards, averaging 121.8 yards per game. He had 42 catches for 487 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He was second in FCS in yards per punt return with an average of 16.9.
Also returning in the secondary is cornerback Seth Thomas, while safety Ford Smesny has seen starting duty. Thomas made 40 tackles in 2011 and Smesny was in on 32.
Joe Narcisse, third on the team last season with 69 tackles, is returning while end Chris Loveless and tackles Michael Ware and Pat Williams are back. Loveless had 34 tackles, Ware 25 and Williams had 46.
Joining Carey as returning starters on offense are Cody Stroud at quarterback, Wes Briscoe at wide receiver, tackles Taylor Johnson and Alec Savoie, guards Jonathan Landry and Arinze Agada and center Carson Chaisson.
Stroud went 1-1 as a true freshman, a win over Southeastern Louisiana and a loss at LSU. Last year, he was 183-for-301 passing for 2,009 yards and nine touchdowns.