Cowboys gradually deploying two QBs Plan to use Orgeron’s feet, Tabary’s arm
by DAVID BERRY
It is starting to seem more and more like head coach Lance Guidry is moving toward using a true two-quarterback system.
Guidry has made clear that James Tabary is the starting quarterback. But in the last two games, Guidry has gone to sophomore Cody Orgeron in key situations.
Orgeron, whose brother Parker also plays for McNeese State as a wide receiver, has appeared in four of the first five games. But in the last two games, he has entered when the scores were close.
Against Brigham Young, Cody Orgeron went in with McNeese trailing 7-3. On the second play of the drive, he was intercepted by BYU’s Tanner Jacobson. The Cougars converted that turnover into a touchdown en route to a 30-3 victory.
Things went better for Cody Orgeron, whose dad is LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, in last week’s 17-14 win over Stephen F. Austin. He engineered a third-quarter drive that resulted in a field goal to put McNeese up 17-0. On the drive, Cody Orgeron ran for 35 yards, including a 30-yard scamper that put the Cowboys in the SFA red zone.
Tabary said he was a little banged up at the end of the SFA game, which is partially why Cody Orgeron got snaps. But the ability to have a quarterback with more of a running threat also factored into it.
“We played Cody throughout the game,” Guidry said. “Of course, Cody made some runs for us. Once it got late in the game, we had fumbled the ball a couple of times with the running backs so we wanted to have another dimension to our offense with Cody’s legs. Cody pulled a couple balls and made some good runs with it. We just thought he gave us the best chance of icing the game and it ended up working.”
However, barring injury, expect Tabary to be the guy trotting out onto the field when Saturday’s game against Abilene Christian starts. While Cody Orgeron is the better running threat, Tabary is the more consistent passer right now, Guidry said.
“James is still the starter,” he said. “But there’s a time and a place for Cody. The more snaps Cody gets, the better he’s going to be.”
When asked about the situation of rotating quarterbacks at times during games, Tabary has maintained that he will be a leader no matter what happens.
“It’s my job to be a team player, no matter what’s going on,” Tabary said. “I have a lot of confidence in Cody, I know the coaches do too. I’m going to support him just like he supports me. I was a little banged up at the end of the (SFA) game so Cody gave us a better opportunity with his feet, even when the pass wasn’t working too well. It’s just another tool in the shed that we were able to use.”
No matter who is at quarterback, the team realizes that the offense has to improve its production. McNeese has only put up more than 20 points once (a 51-34 win over Houston Baptist). Otherwise, the Cowboys (4-1, 3-0 Southland Conference) have scored 54 points in their other four games combined. They’ve been able to rely on a strong defense, but that may not be enough going against ACU (2-3, 1-2), which boasts the SLC’s top offense.
Tabary said he believes that if the offense can execute better, more points will go on the scoreboard.
“Just 11-man execution,” Tabary said. “The plays that we’re supposed to have bust wide open, they don’t because of one individual that just doesn’t do their job. Whether it’s myself or somebody else. We’re so close as an offense to exploding. It takes all 11 every play to commit and execute.”
McNeese State Cowboys quarterback James Tabary (4) passes during their Southland Conference game at Cowboy Stadium in Lake Charles, La., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)
BYU linebacker Jackson Kaufusi (47) tackles McNeese State quarterback Cody Orgeron, left, in the second half during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)