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Football: Desormeaux takes turn at QB

Desormeaux’s ‘Slash’ days end as he becomes the starting QB

He took precious few snaps last season, completing only two passes all year.

But Michael Desormeaux says that 2006 made him a better quarterback, and that’s a very important thing for UL’s football team heading into fall drills.

When the Ragin’ Cajuns report today for the start of training camp, Desormeaux is the unquestioned trigger-man for a revamped offense. That wasn’t the case last year, when he was the backup to four-year starter Jerry Babb.

Instead, Desormeaux was head coach Rickey Bustle’s version of "Slash" – a jack-of-all-trades kind of player.

The former Catholic High-New Iberia standout spent some time at wide receiver. He was the nickel or dime back in several of the Cajuns’ defensive packages. He was the personal protector on the punt team and touched the ball almost as much on special teams – one 51-yard fake punt, three fumble recoveries and one onside kick recovery – as he did on offense.

He was one of only 10 Division I-A players to see time on offense, defense and special teams. The first question on UL’s weekly depth chart was where in the world is Michael Desormeaux.

"Some weeks, it was a lot of running around in practice, but last year was fun," he said. "To me, that’s football. It’s not being at one specialized position, but being able to do a couple of different things. I had a blast with it last year. I had a great time."

The defensive back experience wasn’t Desormeaux’s first, since he played there regularly at Catholic High – especially in situations when the Panthers needed a big stop.

"Now I know a lot more about what those guys are thinking," Desormeaux said. "In our offense, the wide receiver has the option to find an open zone, and now I can tell better when that zone’s going to be there. It helps a lot in the timing of things."

The timing of Desormeaux taking over the position was perfect, according to Bustle.

"He’s been a leader since he walked onto the campus," Bustle said. "It was like he was 30 years old when he got here. He’s very well-respected on this team. But that umbrella has spread out now."

And Bustle takes some of the blame for Desormeaux’s shortage of game-day passing experience.

"He’s got a track record of athletic things he can do, and he’s going to make plays with his feet," Bustle said. "We probably haven’t trusted him enough in the past to throw it a lot, and we both know he needs to throw with more consistency. What we’re doing on offense is going to help him do that."

That timing, and Desormeaux’s athletic ability, meshes with the frenetic offense favored by new coordinator and quarterbacks coach Blake Anderson.

"It’s so different from what anyone else is doing," Desormeaux said. "I haven’t seen anything like it, and I’ve been playing and watching football for a long time. It’s going to be pretty much impossible for a scout team to simulate that. If you feel like you have a good matchup against the personnel they have on defense, you can just go after it."

Adapting to that offense and the revamped offensive staff wasn’t something that happened overnight, Desormeaux said, even though he’s one of the first to admit that last year’s squad underachieved.

"During the winter, when we found out some of the coaches were leaving, it was rough," he said. "A lot of guys were close to coach Christophel (former offensive coordinator Rob Christophel) and upset that he left. But we didn’t play so well at crucial times.

"You have to look at everything in a positive way. We embraced the new coaches and the systems they were bringing in, and we went into the spring excited about it. The schemes they’re putting in are going to help us win, and our team has already decided we’ll do whatever we have to do to win."

Daily Advertiser file photo/John Rowland

UL quarterback Michael Desormeaux strives to take over the Cajuns’ offense this season.