Every spring, college football programs get 15 practices to see where they are heading into the summer and eventually fall camp.
Thursday night was the 15th and final practice for the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns with the Vermilion-White Spring Game at the Moncla Indoor Facility. Team Vermilion outmatched Team White 68-33 in the contest.
Here are three things to take away from the game:
Zeon Chriss is ready
Last season, Zeon Chriss had to step up and deliver for Louisiana against Texas State and in the Independence Bowl and showed flashes of brilliance in those moments.
Now, the redshirt freshman is back and taking all the reps in spring practice due to Chandler Fields and Ben Wooldridge being out with injuries. Last night, he played quarterback for both teams and it showed me something: he’s ready to lead this offense.
“I’m proud of him (Chriss)” said head coach Michael Desormeaux. “The amounts of reps he took this spring and the progress that he’s made, you can see why we’re so excited about him.”
His arm strength was extremely sharp, he made some really good decisions, and he always bounced back after a mistake. The game wasn’t perfect and he overthrew receivers and threw interceptions, but he never let it slow him down. That type of resilience pays dividends for an offense, and the comparisons of “Levi Lewis with a better arm” may very well be true.
Lots of weapons at skill positions
When Chris Smith, Michael Jefferson, John Stephens Jr, and Johnny Lumpkin departed the program, many people thought the offense may take a step back.
Take the spring game with a grain of salt if you wish, but the offense looked just fine last night.
Zylan Perry was back healthy after hurting his hamstring earlier in the spring and was dicing people up with his quick cuts and speed. Then at receiver, new guys like Treyv’on Culbert and Terrance Carter made flashy passes in the passing game, with each of them scoring a touchdown in the contest.
Jacob Kibodi is also a name to keep an eye on. The Texas A&M transfer from Baton Rouge has had an impressive spring and really showed off his bruising ability last night, pushing piles and moving the ball toward the endzone before punching it in a few plays later.
Add Perry, Culbert, and Carter in with Dre’Lyn Washington, Jacob Kibodi, Jacob Bernard, Lance Legendre, and Peter Leblanc and this offense just might be stronger than it was in 2022.
Louisiana’s defense has the potential to be special
Very similar to the offense, the defensive side lost key pieces as well, with Zi’Yon Hill-Green, Eric Garror, and Andre Jones all departing. However, they didn’t look to be phased by those absences.
Starting with the secondary, Courtline Flowers, Tyree Skipper, and Tyrone Lewis Jr joined Kam Pedescleaux and Trey Amos to make a dangerous secondary combo with everybody flying around to the football and making key interceptions throughout the spring game. The group is fast, strong, and ball-smart.
Up front, guys like Antoine Bayless and Mason Narcisse have had a strong spring with Trey Fite, a transfer from SMU, and KC Ossai being big names in the linebacker group.
All in all, this spring showed the growth of the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns from year one to year two, and if the spring can be any indication, Coach Desormeaux and his staff could be putting together a special year for 2023.