August 30, 2010

Bustle not a stranger to Georgia

It's not like University of Louisiana coach Rickey Bustle is a complete stranger to the Georgia Bulldogs, whose team his Rajun Cajuns will challenge Saturday afternoon in Sanford Stadium.

As the former offensive coordinator at Virginia Tech, Bustle was at the Blacksburg school the same time as current Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Bulldog receivers coach Tony Ball.

That's not all.

A former three-year letterman at Clemson, Bustle hails from Summerville High where he played for long-time coach John McKissick. Summerville High, in case you weren't aware, is also the high school alma-mater of Bulldog receiver A.J. Green, who like Bustle, played for McKissick.

"I think at one time I might have been the best-known player from Summerville," Bustle said during a recent telephone interview with UGASports. "I don't believe that's the case anymore."

Naturally, Bustle figures he'll get his fill of Green when his Rajun Cajuns play their first game on Georgia soil Saturday in Athens.

But that's not his biggest concern.

With Georgia breaking in a new quarterback in Aaron Murray, coupled with the fact that the Bulldogs' defense will be playing their first game under Grantham, there's a lot of unknowns that Bustle said his team will have to deal with.

"It's tough when you don't have any film of a team that you're getting ready to play and they're making changes like they are on defense," Bustle told UGASports during Monday's Sun Belt teleconference. "It really kind of makes you keep things pretty simple, that and because we're opening up conference play next week. We might be able to guess some at what Todd will try to do. I know he'll have those guys ready to play. We'll have to be good at making adjustments."

Count Bustle among those who believe Bulldog coach Mark Richt got the right man when he lured Grantham away from the Dallas Cowboys.

"Oh yeah, no question," Bustle said. "Todd Grantham's a great coach. He knows how to teach the game, but he's also going to show that he's a darn good recruiter, too."

Bustle appears to be doing a good job at Louisiana as well.

Entering his ninth year at the school, Bustle's Cajuns have won six games in four of the past five seasons, a stretch not equaled at UL since 1986-89. In fact, since the 2005 season only one other Sun Belt school can boast four bowl eligible seasons.

The Rajun Cajuns are still looking to play in their first bowl, but Bustle believes his program is right on the cusp.

"We've been right there," Bustle said. "We really thought we were going to get a bid two years ago, but didn't quite make it."

Although Bustle's Cajuns will be facing Georgia for the first time, his squad is no stranger to playing against bigger BCS schools.

Last year, Louisiana traveled to Nebraska (Lost 55-0) and LSU (Lost 31-3) but beat Kansas State (17-15). This year, besides traveling to Georgia, Louisiana travels to Ole Miss and hosts Oklahoma State.

"I don't know about having to play three of those guys every year, but in this league (Sun Belt Conference), you're still looking for those checks so this is what you have to do," Bustle said. "But our kids enjoy these games. They look forward to playing teams of that caliber and I know they're excited about going to Georgia."

Bustle laughed though that his secondary might not feel that way when they have to cover Green.

"He's a special player, we don't see anything like that in our league," Bustle said. "Now, we've played some other special players last year when we went to Nebraska and LSU, but there's no question that A.J. is something else. I know he's well-coached, too with Tony (Ball)."

Whatever success the Cajuns enjoy will depend on quarterback Chris Masson who emerged as the starting quarterback last fall.

Masson directed the team to the 16th best red zone efficiency in the nation (89%), the 36th best third-down conversion percentage (42.4%) and the 49th best passing offense in football (224.8ypg). He posted nine games of 200+ yards of total offense, just one game shy of tying the school single-season record. He ranks ninth all-time in total offense (2,694). His 222 completions last fall rank as the third-best single-season total - just two shy of the school record. Masson posted 2,406 yards passing, the fourth best single-season output and he ranks eighth all-time in passing (2,478) in Cajun history.

"Chris is a competitor and someone we're obviously depending on," Bustle said. "We know we're going to have our hands full at Georgia, and whatever success we might have, he's going to need to play a large role."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!