Category: Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns

Brooks Haack
Louisiana-Lafayette athletics

Ex-UL-L QB Brooks Haack forgoes Houston internship to play a year at FCS level

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Given the opportunity to get a headstart on his coaching career, Brooks Haack has instead decided to extend his playing career.

In December, Haack decided to transfer out of the Louisiana-Lafayette football program.  A month later, it was announced Friday, Haack has been added to the Northwestern State football roster.

The quarterback will be eligible to play immediately in 2016 for two reasons.  One, the Demons play at the FCS level.  And, two, Haack has already graduated from UL-L.

This will be Haack’s final season of eligibility.  And, if the Houston football program had anything to say about it, Haack wouldn’t be using it.

“He passed up an internship working with Major Applewhite (offensive coordinator at Houston) to come here and play this fall, so he’s driven to compete, even though he’s already graduated, and wants to see his career through. We’re looking forward to seeing him compete,” Demons head coach Jay Thomas said in a portion of a statement. “He played very well against us last season (going 8-for-9 for 187 yards against NSU Sept. 12). …

“He was part of a Texas state championship team at Katy High School. Also, his dad was a college softball coach including at Alabama, and went back to coach high school ball for family reasons, so Brooks grew up in a very competitive environment.”

After serving as the No. 2 quarterback behind Terrance Broadway as a redshirt freshman and sophomore, Haack started eight games for the Ragin’ Cajuns in 2015. He completed just over 61 percent of his 201 passes for 1,407 yards and five touchdowns, with seven interceptions as well.

NCAA drops sanctions on ULL Ragin Cajun football program

Louisiana-Lafayette defensive lineman Justin Hamilton (6) carries an American flag out to the field before the New Orleans Bowl NCAA college football game against Nevada in New Orleans, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

Former University of Louisiana-Lafayette assistant coach David Saunders arranged fraudulent college entrance exam scores for five student-athletes and denied his involvement, the NCAA ruled Tuesday. The NCAA placed the Ragin’ Cajuns football program on two years of probation and fined $5,000 and stripped of six scholarships over the next two years. The NCAA also slapped an eight-year show-cause on former assistant coaches that will expire on January 11, 2024. The school must also vacate any wins from the 2012 through 2014 seasons that ineligible players participated.

Saunders is now the head coach of Pearl River Community College in Mississippi, but it will be ULL that suffers from his violations. ULL has already vacated all wins from the 2011 season, including a memorable New Orleans Bowl victory, and reduced the scholarships by 11 over a three-year period as the investigation was ongoing. The self-imposed penalties by ULL were accepted by the NCAA, but the organization still felt it was important to tack on additional penalties given the severity of the accusations and violations. Among the violations listed in the ruling released Tuesday, Saunders is accused of paying one student-athlete $6,5000 over two semesters.

“We are pleased that the Committee on Infractions recognized that the University did not have involvement in or knowledge of Level 1 violations and imposed on us the lowest level of penalties,” UL Lafayette President Dr. Joseph Savoie said in a released statement. “Further, the Committee recognized our full cooperation and determination to get to the truth surrounding the allegations.”

ULL has filed a lawsuit against ACT, Inc. seeking damages for failure to detect improper test administration or exam results at one of its testing sites and failure to notify the NCAA or ULL of any irregularities in the entrance exam process.

Gophers look to Ragin’ Cajuns for new offensive coordinator

DETROIT MI - DECEMBER 28: Minnesota Golden Gophers head football coach Tracy Claeys watches the action during the game against the Central Michigan Chippewas on December 28, 2015 during the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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Nearly a month to the day after ridding himself of the old offensive coordinator, Tracy Claeys has officially found himself a new one.

Minnesota Wednesday confirmed that Claeys has hired Jay Johnson as his coordinator as well as quarterbacks coach.  Johnson spent the past five seasons as the coordinator at Louisiana-Lafayette.

Johnson, a native of Lakeville, Minn., will replace Matt Limegrover, who was fired late last month.

“I am extremely excited,” said Johnson. “It’s a great opportunity to come home. I grew up there and have been a Gopher fan all my life, so to come back home and be closer to family and to be part of a great institution like Minnesota is certainly a very exciting opportunity for me.”

Johnson hasn’t coached at a Power Five program since being in charge of tight ends at Louisville. He’s also coached quarterbacks (1999-2001) and running backs (2001-03) at Kansas in a career that stretches back to the early nineties.

The school also announced the hiring of Bart Miller as offensive line coach.  Miller had spent the past two seasons coaching the same unit at FAU.

Limegrover also coached the line in addition to his coordinating duties, triggering the need for two replacements.

“Jay and Bart are both tremendous people and will fit in naturally with our staff,” said Claeys. “These are two individuals we identified early in the process, and I am thrilled that they are headed to Minnesota. They are great coaches with proven track records and will help our student-athletes improve on and off the field.”

Group of Five Update: It’s the American’s bid to lose

Robert Nkemdiche
AP Photo

Good morning, everyone. Zach here filling in for Kevin on this week’s Group of Five update.

It was a great weekend for the American, and it became that way before Saturday even started. Boise State’s slopfest loss to Utah State on Friday night all but eliminated the Broncos and, thus, the entire Mountain West from Group of Five contention. The entire conference now has at least two losses (in fact, Utah State and Boise State are the only MW teams without at least three losses) and not a quality non-conference win to share among its 12 members. The league at one point had a 21-game non-conference losing streak, lowlighting what will likely shape up to be a forgettable season for the perennially strong conference.

The Mountain West’s loss, it appears, will be the American’s gain. Memphis’s historic 37-24 win over No. 13 Ole Miss will likely give the conference two top-25 teams when the polls come out later today and kept the conference steady at three undefeated teams. Fellow unbeatens Houston (42-7 over Tulane) and Temple (30-16 over Central Florida) took care of business against AAC also-rans, setting up what should be a dandy of a conference championship race. Temple (6-0) is alone in first place in the American East and has a great resume boost opportunity coming later this month when Notre Dame visits Lincoln Financial Field. The West, meanwhile, has three viable contenders in Memphis, Houston and 4-1 Navy. That troika has still yet to play each other. Memphis hosts Navy Nov. 7, Houston hosts Memphis Nov. 14, and Houston hosts Navy on Nov. 27. Whoever emerges will likely face Temple for the AAC crown and a Peach or Fiesta bowl berth on the line.

If all four of those teams were to collapse in on themselves, however, Toledo is more than ready to pick up the slack. The 6-0 Rockets thumped Eastern Michigan 63-20 on Saturday, but the rest of their slate will not be so easy. Preseason MAC contenders Northern Illinois, Bowling Green and Western Michigan still lay ahead over the Rockets’ final six games.

In Conference USA, everything is building toward a de facto championship game between Western Kentucky (6-1, 4-0 C-USA) and Marshall (6-1, 3-0 C-USA). The winner of that one, Nov. 27 in Bowling Green, will be heavily favored to beat the West champion in the C-USA title game the following week.

Finally, the Sun Belt title will likely be decided on Thursday when Georgia Southern visits Appalachian State on Thursday night. If either of those two were to drop the ball, Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette remain the top contenders to claim the Sun Belt crown.


Louisiana-Lafayette probed for possible NCAA recruiting violations

Elijah McGuire
Associated Press

The NCAA has inquired into possible recruiting violations at Louisiana-Lafayette, according to a report from The (Lafayette) Advertiser on Sunday.

At the heart of the matter is a possible changing of standardized test scores for multiple recruits during the Mark Hudspeth era. Hudsepth is not accused of wrongdoing and is said to have fully cooperated with the investigation, though new language in the NCAA handbook can chain head coaches to the possible misdeeds of their assistants.

As always, it’s a former rogue assistant that’s claimed to have violated NCAA bylaws here – specifically, former cornerbacks and outside linebackers coach David Saunders. According to the Advertiser, he is the only current or former Hudspeth assistant believed by the NCAA to have participated in any wrongdoing.

The laundry list of sins Saunders allegedly committed, though, is steep – and serious.

From the paper:

Saunders is accused of directing certain recruits to a specific ACT testing center at Wayne County High in Mississippi, and of arranging for an ACT supervisor to complete and/or alter answers to improve test scoring. He also is accused of paying for one recruit’s living/educational expenses while at a two-year college, including one $5,000 payment, and of not cooperating with NCAA enforcement staff.

“We take the allegations very seriously and have fully cooperated with the investigation,” Cajuns AD Scott Farmer said in a statement. “We’ve been committed to finding the truth as much as the NCAA.”

The players involved in the possible grade-changing scheme were not named. “UL is not identifying the student-athletes involved, and it’s believed the players involved did not have any knowledge of wrongdoing,” the paper wrote.

Saunders left the staff last November for “personal reasons” and now coaches at Pearl River Community College in Mississippi.

Louisiana-Lafayette is 38-18 in four-plus seasons under Hudspeth.