It’s time for the football season to begin again, and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns are looking to rebound after a bitter and brutal loss to the Houston Cougars in the coldest weather anyone in the South could have imagined. Be that as it may, the first team the Cajuns will welcome into the Swamp is the Northwestern State Demons.
To put it bluntly, the Demons are terrible by FCS standards. The last time the team’s winning percentage was over .500 was the 2014 season. That was nine years ago, if you can believe that. Their head coach is Brad Laird, a man who has had stints as head coach at multiple high schools in the Texarkana region with a stop at Stephen F. Austin as the linebackers coach before joining the Demons.
It’s currently unknown as of the print deadline who will be the starting quarterback for the Demons. The only player who has thrown a pass for the Demons that is still on their roster is placekicker Scotty Roblow. The current QB competition is Idaho State transfer Tyler Vander Waal, Grambling transfer Quarterius Hawkins and Jacksonville State transfer Chance Newman.
What is known is that their returning rusher, Kenneith Lacy, will be back for his junior season. He’s hoping to rush for more than 414 yards this season as he split time with others in the backfield previously. Their leading receiver Zach Patterson returns for his junior season as well.
As for our hometown boys, the Cajuns have once again remained mum on who will be the starting quarterback for the team come Sept. 2. Will it be the homegrown Chandler Fields, or will it be the Fresno State transplant Ben Wooldridge? It remains to be seen if head coach Michael Desormeaux even wants to name one of those two as QB1. After all, it’s not like the Cajuns have been inconsistent when the quarterbacks rotate in and out.
Sarcasm aside, the Cajuns have a lot of question marks headed into the season. With 2022 being a transition year from Billy Napier and Levi Lewis to Michael Desormeaux and Chandler Fields/Ben Wooldridge, will 2023 be a year that shows improvement? Or will it be a year that was a lot like Rickey Bustle’s tenure: mid, mid and more mid?
We should be able to find that out when the Demons come to town, and for the Cajuns to exorcize their demons both on the field and within their ranks, they’ll need to do three things. The first is simple: pick a quarterback. It’s either Fields or Wooldridge. To quote John Madden, “If you’ve got two quarterbacks, you have none.”
The second thing to do is to stick to what you know works. The Cajuns have had a balanced offense since Napier’s RPO offense left the Swamp for Florida. Keeping the balance will also keep the Demons as honest as a priest would when they hold a crucifix to said demons.
Finally, have fun. This is still, after all, a team that went 4-7 in the FCS equivalent to the Sun Belt (if that means anything anymore). This is a glorified preseason game to make mistakes, make the home fans happy and to bring excitement to a team that’s seen its fanbase slowly erode due to that school across the basin.
Come for the gumbo, and stick around for the blowout, which I expect the Cajuns to do roughly in the 51–14, 45–3, or 30–0 score range.