With Southland Conference Football Media Day a week away, first-year head coach Gilbert has announced the two players who will accompany him to Houston to talk to the various media outlets attending.

Gilbert, who is attending his first ever media day as a college head coach, will take redshirt junior quarterback Cody Orgeron and senior defensive end Chris Livings with him to the Hilton Houston Post Oak by the Galleria to take part in the event.

The choice to bring Orgeron to media day is a stark contrast to spring practice, when Gilbert did not let Orgeron or any of the other quarterbacks available to the media at all.

In the 2018 season, Orgeron completed 50-of-90 passes for 406 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions; he also ran for 148 yards and a touchdown and played in all 11 games, starting three of them.

Orgeron’s first start came at home against Central Arkansas, with father and LSU head coach Ed Orgeron in attendance. McNeese defeated UCA 23-21 that night.

The offense struggled for the majority of the 2018 season, but under Gilbert, Cody Orgeron seems to be the clear leader to earn the starting quarterback position for 2019. He took the majority of the reps in McNeese’s spring scrimmages as well as the spring game.

Meanwhile, Livings will go into the media day as one of the more well-known players on McNeese’s team. In 2018, Livings recorded 28 tackles — 10.5 tackles for loss — with eight sacks, a forced fumble, and 11 quarterback hurries.

With 20.5 career sacks, Livings needs 11 more to break the McNeese career record of 31 by Bryan Smith.

On media day, SLC commissioner Tom Burnett will open up the media sessions by speaking at 9 a.m. and McNeese will meet the media starting at 2:15 p.m.

Three Cowboys make the preseason all-conference team

The preseason all-Southland Conference team was released on Thursday, and three McNeese players were named to it. Offensive lineman Grant Burguillos, defensive end Chris Livings, and defensive back Colby Burton — all seniors — were all named to the first-team.

Burguillos played a team-high 674 snaps and played in all 11 games last season, starting nine of them, only allowing two sacks. While no starting positions have been named, Burguillos seems like a heavy favorite to earn one of the five starting spots.

Burton will arguably be one of the best defensive backs in the SLC this season. In 2018, he started all 11 games, recording 31 tackles — 3.5 for loss — with a team-leading eight pass breakups and two interceptions, which tied for the team lead.

Livings will help anchor a defensive line that was ravaged with injuries last season.

Camp report date set

Per a McNeese athletics release, the football team will report to fall camp on Aug. 1; the schedule for the rest of fall camp has not been announced yet.

McNeese-signee chooses to turn pro

Jared Lopez, a catcher who had initially signed to play baseball at McNeese coming out of Cypress Ranch High School in Texas, has decided to forego his college eligibility and instead turn pro. He has signed with the San Diego Padres after the drafted him in the 17th round of the 2019 MLB Draft.

With Lopez not coming to McNeese anymore, that leaves the Cowboys with three catchers on the team, two of which are healthy. Schuyler Thibodaux impressed as a freshman before his season ended due to a torn hip labrum. Brett Whelton and Jack Gates are the other two returning catchers listed on the roster.

Some men’s basketball non-conference games confirmed

The McNeese men’s basketball team now knows four of its non-conference games for the 2019-20 season.

On Thursday, the athletic department sent out a release announcing that the Cowboys will participate in the 2019 Legends Classic. McNeese will play three road games in the 13th-annual Legends Classic: at Wisconsin on Wednesday, Nov. 13; at New Mexico on Saturday, Nov. 16; and at Richmond, on Friday, Nov. 22.

The University of Texas men’s basketball team released its non-conference schedule for the 2019-20 season, and as has been unofficially known for awhile, McNeese is on it. The Cowboys will make the trip to Austin, Texas to take on the Longhorns on Saturday, Nov. 30; no game time has been set yet.

The two teams have met twice before, the last time being in 2003. Both of those games were in Austin, with UT winning the most recent game 97-59.

“The schedule we are putting together, including the Legends Classic, will help us prepare for a challenging 20-game Southland Conference schedule this season,” McNeese head coach Heath Schroyer said in the release.

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