Defense in unanimous decision
Keeps offense off board in scrimmage
The McNeese State football team played its first scrimmage in typical south Louisiana weather, first playing under a beaming sun followed by a good downpour of rain as the scrimmage came to a close.
The defense was the clear winner in virtually every category, keeping the offense out of the end zone for the entirety of the scrimmage despite a couple drives into the red zone.
“It wasn’t clean, but I wasn’t expecting it to be clean,” said head coach Lance Guidry. “We got a little rain that I think affected third down. The offense did some good things, but when they got into the red zone they didn’t score touchdowns.”
The lone touchdown of the day came from the third-string defense when walk-on freshman defensive back Andre Lee snagged a pass from quarterback Matthew Keller and took it to the end zone.
“I was just happy it happened to him, to tell you the truth,” Guidry said. “He made a good play on the ball and ended up getting the score. I was a walk-on myself coming out here, so any time I see a walk-on make a play I get really excited and tickled.”
Both James Tabary and Cody Orgeron experienced a solid day at quarterback, especially throwing screen passes.
Tabary completed 10 of 14 passes for 72 yards, while Orgeron threw 8-for-13 for 68 yards.
Freshman Cam Smith also went 5-for-5 while racking up 66 yards through the air.
Tabary knew the offense would struggle against the speedy defense, but he said the unit has to find a way to score late in drives.
“That was our No. 1 problem last year, not finishing in the red zone,” Tabary said. “We have to fix that. We have to come together and finish drives. That was the biggest concern for me today.”
Preseason all-American tight end Lawayne Ross led the Cowboys in receiving with three receptions for 30 yards, with Trevor Begue and Bodey Borill right behind him each with two receptions for 27 yards apiece.
On defense, BJ Blunt looked good playing with both the first and second teams. Guidry said he put him in drives with both squads to lift the play of those around him.
He finished with four tackles for loss and two sacks.
Defensive end Cody Roscoe also tallied four sacks, showing proficiency getting past the offensive line all day.
“I feel like we played well today, but I don’t think we played up to our expectations,” Roscoe said. “We had too many busts. We looked good, but there’s a lot we need to improve upon. Bottom line is we have to get back to it in practice.”
Transfer junior Jovon Burris worked his way into a spot with the first team with his play over the last week, and he didn’t disappoint as he led the defense with three pass break-ups.
“We bent but we didn’t break,” Burris said of the defense. “Defense came out and we had a few mistakes, but I feel like we all played really fast. When we got into the red zone, we knew where we were at. When you’re back’s against the wall, you have to fight back.”
The Cowboys will take the day off from practice today to participate in the annual media day.