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Football: Morel simulates Houston’s Kolb

Dan McDonald

Connor Morel is drawing a lot of attention from his UL football teammates this week.
The junior quarterback from Destrehan, a transfer from Northwestern State, is operating the offensive scout team this week. That unit is simulating the formations, looks and schemes the Cajuns expect to see Saturday when they meet Houston’s high-octane Cougars.

This week, Morel is a Heisman Trophy candidate – at least in simulation.

Morel is wearing jersey number four in practice, matching that of Houston standout Kevin Kolb, and he and his scout team mates are charged with giving an accurate look to the Cajun defense.
“Those guys on defense have to be really focused this week,” said Cajun coach Rickey Bustle. “Houston shows all that movement, shifts and motions, and you’ve got to be ready for all of it.”

That makes the scout team’s job very likely more important this week than any other this season.

“We had the scout guys out 30 minutes early today,” Bustle said after Tuesday’s two-hour practice. “You can’t really duplicate that kind of talent level, but they have to do it right. Sunday was a little confused, but they did a good job of showing it today.”

Kolb is the ringmaster in that UH offense, having started 41 straight games for the Cougars and throwing for 10,544 yards and accounting for 85 touchdowns in the past four seasons.

But if there’s one scout slot that UL can count on, it’s Morel’s. The former standout at Jesuit High under ex-Cajun assistant Vic Eumont played in eight games at Northwestern State during the 2004 season after redshirting there in 2003. He transferred to UL and sat out the 2005 season to restore eligibility.

GOOD SESSION: Bustle was happy with his team’s workout performance Tuesday, UL’s first in pads of the week. The Cajuns took off the pads in Sunday’s evening workout.

“We had a good practice,” Bustle said. “The intensity was high and we had a really competitive team-varsity period. It dropped off a little in the last period, but overall we were really focused. We’d had a good practice Sunday and I expected that to carry over.”

INJURIES: Except for the three UL players that are definitely out for Saturday – running back Josh Harrison (knee surgery), linebacker Mark Risher (high ankle sprain) and center Chris Fisher (knee sprain) – the rest of the Cajuns went through almost full drills Tuesday.

The only players in green (limited) jerseys were cornerback Torres Kingsby (shoulder) and center/guard Junior Ramos (knee). Both were injured prior to last Saturday’s Eastern Michigan game but both played against the Eagles.

“We’re just trying to limit Junior some,” said UL offensive line coach Ron Hudson. “When we lost Chris, we decided we better take a little extra care of him.”

RANKINGS: The Cajuns rank 19th nationally in team rushing with a 194.0 average yardage per game in this week’s NCAA I-A listings. Tailback Tyrell Fenroy is 56th in rushing at 70.8 yards per game. UL’s other national ranker is punter Brit Framel, who’s tied for 51st with a 40.0 average.

HONORS: UL’s football staff selected sophomore wide receiver Jason Chery as their Offensive Player of the Game for his five receptions for 93 yards and two scores against Eastern Michigan Saturday. It was his first multi-reception game of his career.

The staff named the entire secondary as Defensive Player of the Game and Edmiston as Special Forces Player of the Game. Offensive lineman Junior Ramos won the Thumper Award for biggest hit on offense, while Ian Burks and Geoffrey McCullough were picked as Scout Team Players of the Week.

Originally published October 4, 2006