LB Ross Brupbacher

2002 Statistics

Coach: Rickey Bustle
3-9, 1 year
2002 Record: 3-9
at Texas A&M LOST 7-31
at Houston LOST 17-36
UAB WON 34-0
at Louisiana State LOST 0-48
at New Mexico State LOST 28-31
at Middle Tennessee LOST 35-48
at Arkansas LOST 17-24
at Louis.-Monroe LOST 10-34

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

This group has nowhere to go but up. It is impossible to list all of the red-flag stats from 2002 that warn of what may occur in the upcoming season. And, from the tone I am using, you can guess how bad 2002 must have been to make 2003 so anticipated. But the vacating of 13 starters can often mean good things for those who step in - if the last crew blew it that bad, the rule is: rebuilding can only help.

One aspect that needs to remain is their superior talent for stripping the ball (38 forced fumbles). That fact, along with opponents earning only a 37% 3rd down conversion rate, are just two of the small but substantial building blocks upon which their 2003 foundation has to be built.

Allowing over 29 points per game to opponents seems almost as important to change as the offense's anemic impact. They haven't been to a bowl game in 33 years, and their last conference crown was in '94, way back when they were part of the now-defunct Big West conference. Seeing how no one is expecting much anytime soon, long-term development would be a good goal. Coach Bustle didn't make anyone change the course of their usual expectations with 2002's 3-9 performance - ergo, a two or three win improvement would realistically set the stage for an incrementally better 2004. Jumping too fast can be a detriment to new coaches, raising fan expectations faster than reason can catch. No sophomore slump can sink Bustle, so a few risks and changes can only work well for him.

As stated, the schedule doesn't lend itself to any easy answers. Three of the first six games come against (and each one at) a major-conference opponent. With the first full team practice August 7th and season starting August 30th at South Carolina, their work is cut out for them to gel into something formidable by game one. Don't expect much from the Bayou Boys in Lafayette. A few wins against better teams would be enough upon which to hang 2004's hope, with underclassmen then having a reason to believe they can ultimately achieve during that next fallow offseason. This is how it starts. When you usually have a losing record, those can be the kinds of victories that make "wait 'til next year" have some bite. Something has to come out of 2003 besides individual accolades for a better future to occur sometime soon.

Projected 2003 record: 1-11
WR Frederick Stamps
WR Frederick Stamps
ROV Jamal Smith
DT Darryl Blappert
QB - 2 DL - 1
RB - 1 LB - 1.5
WR - 3 DB - 1.5
OL - 1.5 ..

Passing: Eric Rekieta, 113-65-4, 652 yds., 4 TD

Rushing: Chester Johnson, 53 att., 164 yds., 0 TD

Receiving: Frederick Stamps, 54 rec., 1002 yds., 8 TD

Scoring: Frederick Stamps, 8 TD, 48 pts.

Punting: Grant Autrey, 78 punts, 39.8 avg.

Kicking: Sean Comiskey, 9-18 FG, 20-20 PAT, 47 pts.

Tackles: Jamal Smith, 51 tot., 31 solo

Sacks: Antonio Floyd, 5 sacks

Interceptions: Jamal Smith, 2 for 44 yds.

Kickoff returns: Bill Sampy, 20 ret., 18.8 avg.

Punt returns: Jerrell Carter, 6 ret., 7.3 avg.


OFFENSE: Blake Bourque-FB, Jerome Coleman-RB, Andre George-WR, Jonathon Raush-OT, Jon Van Cleave-QB
DEFENSE: Marrious Berry-LB, Brian Deamer-FS, Walter Sampson-DT, Charley Smith-DT, Ivan Taylor-CB, Charles Tillman-CB, Peter Villia-OLB

written by Dave Hershorin

Where to start….hmmm? The best news is in the receiving corps. New Orleans-native Fred Stamps is returning to give the Cajuns at least one superior ball-handler. There are others, but none have the proven worth of Stamps. The senior has caught one pass in each of his 32 Louisiana-Lafayette games, which includes an 18.6 yards-per-grab average (tops in the Sun Belt) in 2002. 2002's third-receiver, now-junior Bill Sampy, has Stamps' opposite slot amply filled. His size makes double-teaming Stamps a problem - he will clean up if a corner is left on him alone. And TE Josh Joerg was often sent far downfield (18.8 yards per catch) to make LBs and safeties deal, accordingly. Joerg's catch total (nine) has to increase for his added wrinkle to impact defenses. Otherwise, one catch a game won't have much worth in making him a decoy to anyone. Juco-transfer Kemmie Lewis is a wildcard that could really make the receivers into a special group.

The QB contest is still ongoing, not a good thing as summer wanes. Senior Eric Rekieta was rather unimpressive in his few 2002 chances, including three starts. But he is the only QB with real-game experience. He is out (broke throwing hand, separate elbow problems) after surgery until August. Six-foot, three-inch red-shirted freshman Jerry Babb has taken over, and can cement his spot with quality early play. Rekieta's experience doesn't outshine (for starting purposes) the potential of this strong-armed kid. The Cajuns can't really play offense much worse than they did in 2002, so look for second-year head man Ricky Bustle to attempt long-term grooming of this phenom. If his decision-making is OK, Babb will be the offensive centerpiece around which 2004 is ultimately built. The Ragin Cajuns will be desperate to prove that their total of 13 passing TDs in 2002 was a flukishly low number not to be repeated.

If defenses can again anticipate the failure of UL-Lafayette's running game, it won't matter who is at the helm - each tilt will be an uphill struggle. The line and the backs equally share the fault for the following 2002 numbers (all are team stats): 734 total rushing yards; 61.2 yards per game; 1.9 yards per carry; nine rushing TDs. Chester Johnson presently has the starting nod, but look for the preceding week's hottest back (if not him) to start once season rolls. Proven backup Dwight Lindon will rotate often, as will true-freshman speedster Abdule LeVier.

The OL is the main area where the Cajuns have to improve, period. Besides the horrid rushing numbers, these hogs allowed 42(!) 2002 sacks. They rotate Demetrios Brooks over from right to left tackle to replace now-departed four-year starter Jonathon Raush. The sack total can only go down, huh. This, along with several other new placements, should improve the unit considerably. The coaches would be smart to use a QB-rotation until the starter is clear. This could keep defenses guessing and take pressure off the adjusting bigmen. The crew seems revamped enough to assure that 2002 will not be a repeated performance.


TE Josh Joerg


Returning Starters in bold
QB Jerry Babb-Fr Eric Rekieta-Sr
FB Wayne Stein-Sr Travis Cones-Jr
RB Dwight Lindon-Jr Josh Harrison-Fr
WR Frederick Stamps-Sr Bill Sampy-Jr
WR Eric Bartel-Sr Kemmie Lewis-Jr
TE Josh Joerg-Sr Lawrence Johnson-Jr
OT Corey Glover-So Adrian Limbrick-Jr
OG Greg Hodges-Jr Chris Perrone-Sr
C Ronnie Harvey-Jr Mike Moore-So
OG Demetrios Brooks-Jr Bryan Lloyd-Jr
OT Brandon Cox-Fr D'Anthony Batiste-Sr
K Sean Comiskey-So ..



written by Dave Hershorin

The Ragin Cajuns play a 4-2-5 defense that intermittently rotates three of their five DBs into pseudo-LB-style play. This is hard to contend with when the proper high-performance athletes man the respective spots. Regardless of who plays where, the defense has to cut down on the number of TDs allowed (46) and total yards allowed per contest (380) to keep the offense's back covered and off the field.

Their best 2002 dimension, the UL-Lafayette's secondary (198 passing yards per game ranked 36th in I-A), is pretty much depleted except for one reserve. Senior Jamal Smith is luckily the best DB from 2002 in terms of tackle totals. His six TFLs and four recovered fumbles make Jamal's nose for the ball, along with rock-solid hitting, his best qualities. He anchors a new group that will grow quickly (or die) in the trial-by-fire setting the Cajun's first six games will supply. Those first six games (four are with heavy hitting non-cons) will be big pills that, if swallowed, can set a confident tone within which the DBs can eventually flourish. The season's second half is mostly SBC teams - none of whom would see a developed secondary coming if UL-Lafayette got wiped by the initial heavy non-cons slated. Corners Terryl Fenton and Jerrel Carter will feel the most heat, but cannot be deterred if/as the big guys succeed early against them. Learning from mistakes will be the biggest creed needed for eventual success. Can these kids respond as needed? This area, along with the OL, is the biggest variable needing to prove itself for any team advancement.

Senior Antonio Floyd is the DE who plays much bigger than his 237-pound frame. The intangible factor is his productive, gutsy performance as he battled injury most of 2002. He, along with fellow ends Derace James and Eugene Kwarteng, make a formidable trio no opponent can afford to overlook. They will bust into opponent's backfields and compile impressive stat lines regardless of the team's success. And there are experienced Juco transfers who will supplement the loss of both tackles, yet they are under 300. "Playing big" seems to apply and be needed from the entire line. It's a must that the run-stopping has to improve on 2002's dismal 182 rushing yards per tilt. Playing as a unit rather than like four frenzied individuals with separate agendas will be key. They can't anticipate run-support from the secondary, right? So…

The LBs look strong. Louisiana natives Stanley Smith, a junior, and fellow upperclassman Ross Brupbacher, a senior, look to anchor the UL-Lafayette two-man system. This experienced duo (and their qualified backups) is not going to be overly distracted by TEs and decoys to leave vital run-support areas vacant. They can't afford to with what we know will be a developing secondary and interior line. Inversely, look for them to produce lesser individual stats if the team succeeds, but higher ones if the team struggles and they are needed everywhere all the time.


ROV Jamal Smith


Returning Starters in bold
DE Antonio Floyd-Sr Derace James-Sr
DT Darryl Blappert-Jr George Benson-Jr
DT Daniel Taylor-Sr Shawn Williams-Sr
DE Eugene Kwarteng-So Tony Hills-Fr
LB Stanley Smith-So Mack Fair-Fr
LB Ross Brupbacher-Sr Ricky Calais-Sr
WHIP Patrick Lamy-Sr Wes Simon-Fr
CB Terryl Fenton-So Antwain Spann-Jr
CB Jerrell Carter-Jr Ricky Thomas-Jr
ROV Jamal Smith-Sr C.C. Brown-Jr
FS David Prater-Jr Wendall Williams-Jr
P Grant Autrey-Sr ..




Senior Grant Autrey is a quality punter who grounds this area well for bankability in the kicking game. Net punting was good in 2002, good enough that a repeated performance on this level should be supplied to assure opponent's field position is poor as possible. The Ragin Cajuns also blocked three punts, so this area needs to remain strong, period. Soph. PK Sean Comisky is another project-in-work who will have a bigger 2003 than his 9-for-18 2002 (two blocked FGAs). Seven of his misses were from 40+ yards away, so promise exists for the underclassman. The return game will see Stamps running back punts and Jerrell Carter getting the honor on KOs. Both can obviously run, but can the blocking depth provide what is needed? Results of poor field position can't help the fledging offense.