Football is in the air and Thursday is "report day" on the campus of the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns.
The team will begin the first of seven fall camp practices Friday. Those seven practices will come over the next ten days.
The 2020 season is one full of expectations after the Cajuns' historic 2019 campaign. The team's 11 wins set a program record; Levi Lewis and the offense also amended the record books, while the team's defense was tops in the Sun Belt. But nobody was perfect, says senior linebacker Joe Dillon, and there are still ways to improve.
"There is always room to improve, always room," he said during the team's virtual media Thursday. "From a defensive standpoint any little thing. None of us were perfect. Any little thing possible we can approve, we need to attack it."
Dillon bounced back in 2019 and admitted it silenced any doubts about whether or not he can return to his freshman form.
Safeties coach Patrick Toney takes over this fall as the team's defensive coordinator. He spent the last two years under Ron Roberts, who left the program to take over as the school's defensive coordinator at Baylor.
"What's the next step? Let's get better at knowing what the offense is doing, let's get better at understanding the situation, the down and distance, the field position, the time on the clock and whatever that may be," he said of improving the defense. "If we play better situational football, we'll win more games."
Thursday, college football's first coaches poll came out. Louisiana received three top-25 votes. But Head Coach Billy Napier couldn't care less.
"Go check the coaches poll this time last year and tell me how accurate it is when the season," he said. "It's a projection, it's a hypothesis. What's going to matter is the work we've done up to this point, and the work we do the rest of the way."
Napier announced three players will miss all or most of the season. Defensive linemen Kendall Wilkerson was injured in a car accident, while wide receivers Calif Gossett and Jamal Bell are out with a knee and Achilles injury and knee injury, respectively.
Filling the wide receiver depth chart will be a topic we'll dive into over the next few days. Louisiana will also have to replace two NFL draft picks on the offensive line, Robert Hunt and Kevin Dotson. Offensive coordinator Rob Sale expects no drop-off.
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