billy napier team

NOTICE: The views expressed in The Vermilion's opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect those of The Vermilion staff or of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

With the Cajuns’ triumphant season at an end, it becomes easy to relish in the glory of being the highest ranked Louisiana football team in program history. Louisiana was the only ranked team in the state and No.1 in the Sun Belt Conference. While the team’s overall performance was spectacular there are aspects that need improvement to continue to 2020 season hype into 2021.

Quarterback Levi Lewis proved himself with 2,274 passing yards, but the team’s pass completion percentage was only 58. While Louisiana held the No. 1 spot in the Sun Belt Conference, their completion percentage put them at fourth place when compared to other teams. 

The offense favored running the ball as their rushing attempts exceeded their passing attempts. Louisiana ran the ball 429 times and attempted to pass the ball 310 times. With playmaking running backs Elijah Mitchell and Trey Ragas having a combined yard total of 1,636 out of the team’s 2,343 rushing yards, it is hard to not run the ball. With this being said, one would expect the No.1 team in the Sun Belt Conference to be at a higher spot than fourth in pass completions.

Field goal percentage is another statistic that could use improvement. While their field goal percentage was the same as their opponents, the stats are not to be bragged about. Louisiana made 66% (10-15) of their field goals whereas their opponents made 66% as well.

Not only could Louisiana look to improve their pass completion percentage, but their third and fourth down conversions. Both third and fourth down conversions were lower than their opponents too. Louisiana’s third-down conversion percentage came at 42.74% (59-138) where their opponents’ average was at 43.53% (74-170). They were even further behind on their fourth down conversions at 44% average (11-25) and their opponents being 55% (15-27). Third down conversions playing a crucial statistic that needs to be fixed in the 2021 season.

Louisiana also struggled with losing yards due to penalties. When compared to their opponents, Louisiana lost 61.45 yards per game where their opponents lost 40.64. The team lost the second most number of yards per game due to penalties in the conference coming behind Appalachian State who lost 63 per game.

Despite areas of needed improvement, The Cajuns were the only ranked team in the state and kept climbing in ranks throughout the season. Without a doubt, the team shocked the nation with their excellent season. 

With that being said, there is always room for improvement to fulfill the expectations for the 2021 season. The Cajuns need to look to improve their pass completion percentage, third and fourth down conversions, making field goals, and lowering the number of penalties. With a change in starters due to playmakers graduating, young players have big expectations to fill because they are not only following in their older teammate’s footsteps but as well as coming off a record-setting season.

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