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Football: Mike’s visor for function, not form

CajunBlog by Dan McDonald

Dan McDonald

Michael Desormeaux’s the only UL football player wearing a plastic visor on his helmet during the Ragin’ Cajuns’ fall practice camp, and it’s not from a desire to be different.
Desormeaux began wearing the face protection during spring practice, less than three months removed from what could have been a catastrophic all-terrain vehicle accident. The Catholic-New Iberia product sustained severe head and facial lacerations during the accident while on a hunting trip in Austin, Texas, with teammate and starting tight end Erik Jones.

The two were riding side-by-side in the vehicle and collided with an overhanging limb. Jones suffered minor injuries, and Desormeaux escaped with no broken bones, eye problems or jaw and teeth damage.

“We were very concerned for Michael’s health and well-being,” Cajun head coach Rickey Bustle said. “After hearing the details, he’s very lucky that it wasn’t worse than it was.”

Desormeaux made a much quicker than expected recovery and went through limited spring drills, and he quickly showed he hadn’t missed a beat during the first three days of UL’s fall drills. He had a succession of deep throws on target during pass skeleton drills Wednesday.

That’s not a surprise to Cajun coaches or fans. When starting quarterback Jerry Babb suffered a shoulder injury against Central Florida, Desormeaux stepped in and started four games including wins at Middle Tennessee and against Troy that began UL’s five-game win streak to end the season. He finished with 487 rushing yards (second on the team) for a 5.6 average and three scores and completed 62-of-117 passes for 597 yards.

“He might have been our most valuable player last year,” Bustle said, “with the way he had to step in and the things he was able to do.”

The visor’s more of a precautionary measure now.
“I’ve been wearing it since spring,” Desormeaux said. “It’s kind of become second nature.”

New NCAA rules require such visors to be clear this season. In the past, visors could be tinted and players’ faces were almost invisible when wearing them.

“They can see my eyes now,” Desormeaux said.

UL equipment manager Lyle Williams said that several other players will wear similar visors during games. “It’s a fashion thing now,” he said.

Originally published August 10, 2006