Lamar may offer McNeese’s most unique challenge of season

<div class="Content"><p class="indent">McNeese’s defense was in a position they’re rarely in during the second half and overtime of the 37-34 loss to Northwestern State.</p><p class="indent">Helplessness.</p><p class="indent">After shutting the Demons out in the first half, the Cowboys let NSU score five touchdowns and one field goal on nine second half and overtime drives.</p><p class="indent">But McNeese head coach/defensive coordinator Lance Guidry did not want the disappointment to linger, so he got the defense out on the field Monday to prepare for what will arguably be McNeese’s most unique challenge of the season.</p><p class="indent">Lamar goes into Saturday’s game with a Southland Conference-leading 247.4 rushing yards per game; that is also good for 13th in the Football Championship Subdivision.</p><p class="indent">The Cardinals run a shotgun triple option offense which uses motions to bring running backs and wide receivers from out wide and makes them one of the options in the run game. Their running game is pretty balanced, with four players averaging at least 47.4 yards rushing per game. McNeese has not allowed a team to rush for over 200 yards this season, while Lamar has rushed for at least 200 yards in six out of their 10 games.</p><p class="indent">Lamar head coach Mike Schultz already announced that they will play two quarterbacks (Jordan Hoy and Darrel Colbert, Jr.).</p><p class="indent">“They’re both good,” Guidry said of Lamar’s two quarterbacks. “They’re both dual-threat. They both can run, they both can throw. One of them’s more like a tailback, the other one’s a little bit probably more like a wideout running the football. Sometimes they’re both in there and they they run some plays with both of them in there that they can both can run the option with. They’re doing a good job offensively.”</p><p class="indent">As with any triple-option offense, assignment football is key for the defense. But where as a lot of tripleoption teams have tightly-packed formations, Lamar runs it out of the shotgun spread. So there is more space for the defense to cover, and the Cardinals can also utilize the run-pass option.</p><p class="indent">“Got to execute,” senior linebacker Christian Jacobs said. “When you have a job, you have to do your job 100 percent. Can’t get your eyes in the wrong place. Like I said, your job, it means a lot. If you’ve got to take the pitch, you’ve got to take the pitch. If you’ve got to take the quarterback, you’ve got to take the quarterback. If we just stay disciplined and execute your specific job, we should be fine.”</p><p class="indent">Adding to the defense’s challenge this week is the probability that they will be without junior safety Jovon Burris and senior linebacker B.J. Blunt. Burris suffered a head injury when he took a knee to the helmet on the opening kickoff against NSU, while Blunt suffered a knee injury late in the same game.</p><p class="indent">If neither are able to play, look for sophomore Gabe Foster, who is nursing a hamstring injury himself, to replace Burris. Senior Tré Porter could replace Blunt.</p><p class="indent">The defensive line has dealt with injuries for most of the season as well. Jacobs acknowledges that the defense will miss Burris and Blunt if they don’t play. But they still have to go out there and play.</p><p class="indent">“Having those two players on the field does make a difference,” Jacobs said of Burris and Blunt. “Because B.J. is a great leader and ‘Von is an intense player. And they both bring pieces to the defense that we need and that we love. But next man up. You’ve got to prepare like you’re the starter each and every week even when you’re not the starter. Coach Guidry always preaches that. You’ve got to practice like a starter so you can play like a starter.”</p><p class="indent">The DWA is looking to get the attitude back after losing it for a half last Saturday.</p></div>

<strong>Lamar at McNeese 3 p.m. Saturday</strong>

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