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Football: Bustle makes changes to staff

Four assistants released after 6-6 season

After spending the past nine days evaluating every aspect of his football team, Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns coach Rickey Bustle decided it was time for a change.

Those changes occurred on Monday, as Bustle, who recently completed his fifth season with the Cajuns, fired offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Rob Christophel, defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Brent Pry, receivers coach Brian Crist and cornerbacks coach Terry Sims.

"In my evaluation I look at where we are and where we ought to be," Bustle said. "We ought to be doing somethings better and after five years we ought to be more consistent. This is something that we had to do."

Expectations were extremely high for the Cajuns entering the season, as talk of a winning season, Sun Belt Conference championship and bowl game appearance was frequently mentioned.

Instead the Cajuns struggled with inconsistency en route to finishing 6-6 overall and fifth in the conference with a record of 3-4

The Cajuns’ rushing offense ranked 14th in the country, but they were 114th in passing offense, 83rd in scoring offense and 82nd in total offense, while defensively they were 49th against the run, 65th against the pass and 58th total.

In the eight-team Sun Belt Conference, the Cajuns were seventh in passing offense and sixth in pass defense.

"I wasn’t trying to make a statement with this decision nor was I trying to make anyone the scapegoat," Bustle said. "But if there is a statement to be made it’s that we’re trying to improve and that going 6-6 is not good enough."

Bustle said he informed the coaches on Sunday of his decision.

"I met with every coach yesterday (Sunday) and they responded well," Bustle said. "They all responded in a professional way. They know it’s a part of the business, even though it’s the part of the business that I don’t like."

Dismissing the four coaches was reffered to by Bustle "as the toughest thing he’s had to do."

"These were some great people and some good friends," Bustle said. "This change has no reflection on these coaches’ character or their coaching ability. Our program is just at a point where we need a shot in the arm of new enthusiasm and a change of philosophy."

It’s that potential change in philosophy that has Bustle believing the Cajuns’ returning players will handle the news.

"My experience tells me that some will be surprised and some will be dissapointed," Bustle said. "Some who may have been down on the depth chart will be excited over the change because it will give them a second chance. These kids want to win and I believe they trust my judgement."

Bustle said he wasn’t forced by anyone to make changes to his staff.

"I didn’t receive any pressure from anyone to make these changes," Bustle said. "This was my decision. It’s the nature of the beast. I’m here for the long haul and this was something that needed to be done. We plan on winning a lot of football games here in the future – I believe in this program."