LAFAYETTE — After what Dominique Tovell did on the field Saturday, Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth doesn’t think he’ll change Tovell’s position again anytime soon.
Tovell started the first six games of the season at outside linebacker but racked up a career-high 12 tackles Saturday against ULM from the inside linebacker position. Ten of Tovell’s 12 tackles were solo tackles.
His production didn’t stop there. He also sacked quarterback Garrett Smith twice, forced a fumble and recovered another.
“We’re going to keep it there,” Hudspeth said. “I mean, you saw the production. When you’re in the middle, you can go to both sides. When you’re on one side, it somewhat limits you.”
Tovell said the difference between what he had done before and what he did against ULM was all in the positioning. Rather than being on the outside, where he has more coverage responsibilities, he was playing more around the line of scrimmage.
“I think it allowed me to flow to both sides of the field,” Tovell said.
The Cajuns primarily used their nickel package against ULM, something that will likely continue this week against Georgia State. When they play in the nickel, only three linebackers are on the field.
Hudspeth said the move was brought on because he wanted to get pass rusher Darzil Washington on the field, but that meant someone on the outside would either have to come off the field or move inside.
“It was just too good of a player sitting over there … and we definitely weren’t going to take Tovell off the field to put Darzil on,” Hudspeth said. “That’s why I made the move.”
And that move is likely to stick for the time being.
Junior defensive lineman Jacoby Briscoe will not play for the Cajuns this weekend.
“Jacoby Briscoe is not going to travel,” Hudspeth said. “We’ll hold him back.”
Briscoe did not play last week against ULM, either. He has played in six games this season, compiling eight tackles and one broken up pass.
Hall of Fame visit
Hudspeth normally doesn’t like to set up any sort of extracurricular activities for his team on road trips, but occasionally there’s something that makes him deviate from the usual plan.
On Friday afternoon, the team will tour the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
“Typically we don’t do a lot unless there’s something that’s educational or something that we want our kids to experience. ... Now you’ve got this opportunity, it’s obviously a new facility there that’s getting a lot of accolades,” Hudspeth said. “I think it’ll be awesome for them to go there.”
Hudspeth will also be on the lookout for a younger version of himself.
“I’m hoping that all the national championships are listed. I’m going to look for my Division II National Championship picture at Delta State,” Hudspeth said. “Show them my little high-fade flattop.”
Hudspeth said he was planning to keep a close eye on Thursday night’s game between Appalachian State and Arkansas State. Both teams were undefeated in league play heading into the game, and the outcome could have an impact on the Cajuns down the road.
“If Appalachian State wins, then we somewhat control our own destiny from here on out,” Hudspeth said.
The Cajuns lost to Arkansas State earlier this year, but if Appalachian State wins and the Cajuns win out — including a late-November game against Appalachian State — the Cajuns would at least clinch a share of the conference title.
But that’s too far down the road to really consider.
“We’re staying one game at a time,” Hudspeth said. “We’re just trying to get better. Every game, try and improve. If we continue improving, I think we’ve got a lot of good football left ahead of us.”
Home sweet home
Saturday’s game against the Cajuns will mark the first time in four full weeks Georgia State will have played a home game. The Panthers’ last home contest was against Appalachian State on Oct. 10.
Not that it will make much of a difference. The cavernous Georgia Dome usually swallows up whatever fan presence Georgia State is able to muster, and the Panthers’ home record since they moved up to the FBS level is just 1-15. Georgia State is 0-3 at home this season.
The last time the Cajuns played there was in Georgia State’s first year as a Sun Belt member, 2013, when the Cajuns won 35-21.