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Football: Do it all player likes role

Desormeaux can play almost anything asked

Dan McDonald

Mentally, it was tough, with his UL football team losing its third straight game.
Physically, though, Saturday was an easy day for Michael Desormeaux.

The Cajuns’ man of many positions didn’t take any snaps on defense against North Texas, so his duties were limited to wide receiver and two different special teams.

That’s a virtual breather for the former Catholic-New Iberia standout, who has seen time at two offensive positions, as a defensive back and on four different special teams groups this year.
"It’s difficult sometimes, but it’s so much fun," Desormeaux said. "As a real football fan, nothing is more fun than to have an impact on the game in so many different ways."

His impact expanded Saturday during the 16-7 loss to the Mean Green, when he had the first two receptions of his career.

"We’re getting in more ways to get him the ball," said Cajuns coach Rickey Bustle. "He’s a guy that needs to be out there somewhere."

That became obvious last season when three-year quarterback starter Jerry Babb went down with a shoulder injury. Desormeaux, then a redshirt freshman, was thrown into the fray and ended up completing 62-of-117 passes (53.0 percent) for 597 yards.

He also helped jump-start UL’s option attack, rushing for 76, 83 and 174 yards in his first three games under center.

With Babb back healthy for last year’s final three games – and rushing for 100 yards twice in those three – Desormeaux was relegated to only backup quarterback duty as the Cajuns wrapped up a five-game win streak and claimed a share of the Sun Belt title.

"Mike is a great team player," Bustle said. "A lot of guys might have sulked, but not him. He can do so many athletic things, and he’ll do whatever we ask him to."

The coaching staff’s dilemma was to find a place, and the answer lied in his background at Catholic High where he was a four-time letterman in football and basketball, three in baseball and five in track.

UL secondary coaches Terry Sims and Tim Rebowe put him as the "dime" back in pass coverage. He’s played a lot in that role, especially against the spread formations used by Eastern Michigan, Houston, Middle Tennessee and Troy.

"I really love playing defense," Desormeaux said. "I missed that from high school."

He’s also found himself on UL’s punt block, punt return, onside kick and onside kick recovery teams this year, and between those slots and his defensive role he’s recovered a team-high three fumbles this year.

Quarterback, though, is still his focus, and he remains the heir-apparent at the post when Babb completes his record-setting career during UL’s final three games this year.

"At quarterback, you get to control the game at a high level," he said. "You make the calls, make the reads and you handle the ball every play. I love having that opportunity."