Cowboys hope to ride passing game, defense could help Cowboys ride higher in SLC standings
Lance Guidry rides herd as the Cowboys’ head coach for his second season, and there’s plenty of talent to wrangle. Eight Cowboys made the pre-season All-Southland Conference team, with two as first-team members — safety Andre Fuller and tight end Lawayne Ross. Offensive second-team members are lineman Andy Dodd, a transfer from LSU, and wide receivers Kent Shelby and Darious Crawley. Three on defense were named to the second team: defensive back Dominique Hill and defensive linemen Chris Livings and Jammerio Gross-Whitaker.
Gross-Whitaker, a senior, led the Cowboys with 59 tackles and was second with 7.5 sacks. He was joined by Livings, a junior, to form a dynamic duo on the defensive line. Livings led the team with eight sacks and 14 tackles for a loss.
Last year’s team MVP, junior James Tabary, returns as quarterback. He had more than 400 pass attempts last season, throwing for 3,046 yards, second-best in team history, and 23 touchdowns. Fans can expect the airshow to continue this year. “James keeps getting better and better,” Guidry gushed at the SLC’s annual media day. “What I like a lot about our offense is that we do throw the ball a lot, but we don’t throw it every ten seconds. We use the whole play clock.”
That’s by design. “As a defensive guy, I like that,” Guidry said. “On defense, you don’t want to play 100 snaps a game — you’re going to wear out your defense. So I think we have a way of running the ball, of throwing the ball, of using the clock — to where you’re not just hanging your defense out there. Sometimes in college football, they want to put up as many points as fast as they can, but they don’t look over on that other side of the ball and see that defense with their tongues hanging out.”
About that defense: “We’re returning a bunch of good players, a lot of speed,” he said. “And I’m kinda back in the saddle as the defensive coordinator — so we’d better be better.”
Yup, the head coach is serving double duty this year, handling the defense personally. “At McNeese, we set our goals really high, because 6-5 (last year’s record) is not where we want to be,” he said. “Although that’s a ‘winning season,’ that’s not the standard at McNeese. The standard at McNeese is trying to get back to the national title game — and of course late in the season making a run to win the conference championship.”
McNeese came oh-so-close to winning the national championship game in 2002, but hasn’t won a post-season game since. This year’s pre-season vote predicts McNeese to finish third in the SLC, behind runaway favorite Sam Houston and Central Arkansas. It’s important to note, though, that the Cowboys won’t play Sam Houston this season — a scheduling eye-opener that hasn’t been seen in three decades. For the Cowboys, that’s a potential trail toward a conference co-championship if they run the table in SLC games.
by Brett Downer