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Louisiana Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns preview

Elijah McGuire is a versatile and explosive runner. AP Photo/Andres Leighton

Coach Mark Hudspeth has a touch of Bo Pelini disease, having led the Ragin’ Cajuns to four straight 9–4 seasons. The offense returns its key playmaker, but the D does not … so making it nine wins for five seasons in a row will be an uphill battle.

Offense

How the Ragin' Cajuns beat you: RB Elijah McGuire followed up his 2013 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year campaign by winning the conference POY on the strength of 97.2 rush ypg and 7.6 ypc. The junior is versatile -- he excels out of the backfield, through the air, even in the

wildcat -- and is especially explosive: The Ragin’ Cajuns gained 20-plus yards on 56 plays from scrimmage, 22 from McGuire.

How you beat the Ragin' Cajuns: Sixteen different Ragin’ Cajuns caught passes last year, but no WR broke 500 yards receiving (James Butler came close with 470). The No. 2 receiver? McGuire, with 468 yards. UL Lafayette’s air attack was woeful last year (191.9 ypg, No. 98 in the FBS), and breaking in a new QB in ’15 won’t help.

Defense

How the Ragin' Cajuns beat you: With four new defensive assistants, including Melvin Smith, formerly of Auburn, as DC, the schemes will remain under wraps until the opener at Kentucky. But whether it remains in a base 4-3 or switches up, this defense will reflect Smith’s reputation for ball-hawking secondary play.

How you beat the Ragin' Cajuns: Despite Smith’s arrival, testing this pass D will be worth the risk. Last year ULL’s secondary struggled by most measures: 70.3 opposing QBR (No. 110 in the FBS); 263.6 ypg (No. 105); 7.7 ypa (No. 106). Think it can’t get any worse? Think again. The Ragin’ Cajuns’ main disrupter, DT Christian Ringo, who had a team-high 20 TFL and 11½ sacks in 2014, departs.