Anybody else ready to forget last week? I tried, through sex and alcohol, to wake up Sunday in a good mood. Instead I was hung over, tired, and still pissed off. What can you do, though, but move on to next week.
This week your Cowboys welcome the University of Louisiana Rajin Cajuns (yeah, they're dropping the Lafayatte from the name) to Boone Pickens Stadium. The U of L is located, oddly enough, in Lafayatte Louisiana, and is a public research university with an enrollment of around 17000. What do the Cajuns do for fun? Well, they rage, eat crawfish, clean up hurricane debris, and drink beer at football games. Yes, those lucky bastards get to buy beer at their stadium. You hear that Holder, that's the sound of money flowing around you, if you only sold beer at the stadium. On to football stuff.
The 2011 season was a good one for the Cajuns, going 9-4, coming in 3rd in the Sun Belt and winning their bowl game against San Diego State. So far this season they've notched a good win against Troy and a blowout victory over Lamar. Against the Trojans they passed for 171 yards and rushed for 218 yards all while rotating between two quarterbacks. We'll get into specifics in a minute, but basically they run a spread offense and a 4-3 base defense. They've got some players on offense, not so much on defense. Cross the jump and we'll get into offensive and defensive specifics...
Let's start with the defense. Last week I gave a small dissertation over the 3-3-5 defense, so I'll do the same thing here with the 4-3. The 4-3 is probably the most common defense in football today, especially at the college and pro level. It's a pretty simple set up, you have 4 down lineman and 3 linebackers, leaving 2 corners and 2 safetys in the secondary. Simple, so what are the advantages? You're going to line up your best on the strong side of the offense, you have a better chance at stopping the run than you do with a 3-3-5 or 3-4, and if you have decent linebackers you can cover the middle well.
The disadvantage is covering the pass well, as you can't double team a receiver without leaving your other corner alone with no help over the top. Really, probably everyone knows about this defense, but it boils down to this. If you don't get a good push up front, you're in for a long day. Running a 4-3 and losing the battle in the trenches is a bad sign. How does that help us? Well the Cajuns don't have a good line, and they don't have a good secondary. Troy was able to pass for 528 yards on them (though they only rushed for 60), and had 9 different receivers get more than 20 yards.
If we can get the run game going (and I see no reason why we can't, our O-line dwarfs their defensive line), the play action will be there all day. They simply won't be able to stop the run or the pass. I don't think they have a single corner who can cover Blake Jackson or Tracey Moore by themselves, and you can't double team two receivers. Looking at our offensive line against Arizona, Lunt had all day in the pocket, and they helped Jeremy Smith and Joseph Randle average about 7 yards a carry. Defensively, they won't be able to slow us down much, which brings us to where they can hurt us.
The Cajun offense is a fairly typical spread attack (though very run heavy, lovin them some option), run by some combination of 5th year senior Blain Gautier and redshirt junior Terrence Broadway. Against Troy the Cajuns rushed for more yards than they passed, and utilize a zone read option attack. Lot's of those words scare me, especially since we gave up over 200 yards rushing to Arizona. They have some decent players at the skill positions, all of which could add up to a shootout (and God knows, we don't want that, we need to look good).
While this game could go all pear shaped on us, I don't think it will. Bill Young returns, it's a day game at home, and the team should be looking to whip an ass after Saturday. I think we'll struggle with the run at first, but our defensive line should be able to wear down their offensive line. And, if we correct some of our "mental mistakes" (like 170 penalty yards and 4 turnovers and 435 dropped passes) this game won't be close. I also think we'll get a good sense of where our team is going into Texas. This is a decent Cajun team, but one that shouldn't be able to compete with us. I think we win big, look much better, and try and prove that the Arizona game was our "shit the bed" game of the season.