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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lafayette, we are here

Georgia’s opening opponent likes to call itself the University of Louisiana. (Witness the logo at right). But there’s actually a state law preventing any school from officially using that moniker, and the official style of everyone else – including this blog – is to call it Louisiana-Lafayette on first reference, and ULL afterwards.

Hey, we don’t wanna cause anybody any trouble.

Georgia and ULL have never met in football. So what do we make of the visitors? For some insight we went to Matthew DeGenova, the lone Louisiana native on Georgia’s roster.

DeGenova, a junior defensive end, grew up in the New Orleans area, which he said is about a two-hour drive from Lafayette. Those are two distinct areas, according to DeGenova.

New Orleans is a bit more cosmopolitan, even after all the post-Katrina flight. Whereas the Lafayette area is a bit more, well …

“Their nickname is the Rajin’ Cajuns,” DeGenova said, smiling. “A lot of people associate them with Cajuns. … They’re known more for being the Cajun style, people who talk Cajun and eat the Cajun food. Whereas New Orleans might be a little more …”

DeGenova thought for a moment, kept smiling, then continued.

“Civilized,” he said, then added: “I don’t wanna throw anybody one way or the other, saying somebody’s more advanced.”

Actually, the states of Louisiana and Georgia have a lot in common when it comes to football. Basically, they’re both hotbeds. If you look at ULL’s roster, you’ll see a lot of Louisiana natives, much like Georgia is dominated by in-state products. (DeGenova said he was never recruited by Lafayette, and ended up at Georgia primarily because his brother played here.)

“They recruit Louisiana, and very few kids get away,” DeGenova said of ULL. “I trained with one kid, and he ended up going to Alabama to play defensive back. But LSU does a good job of recruiting and keeping everyone in-state. That’s kinda how Louisiana-Lafayette is, they just take everyone in-state.”

For a more Xs and Os look at Georgia’s opponent, and the game, here’s a link to the breakdown in today’s paper.

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