LAFAYETTE —All Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth and the Ragin’ Cajuns want to do is put Saturday’s 48-20 embarrassment at the hands of Louisiana Tech behind them.
The truth is, as agitated as the Cajuns are after the Bulldogs put up 533 yards of offense against them, one game does not define a season. Hudspeth said he will make few scheme changes when the Cajuns travel to Oxford, Mississippi, to take on No. 14 Ole Miss on Saturday.
“When we don’t follow our plan to win, typically we don’t win,” Hudspeth said Monday. “We didn’t follow (the plan) from the get-go (against Louisiana Tech). We lost the turnover battle; we didn’t play great defense. It goes right down the line, but the challenge does not get any easier.”
Hudspeth said there is a lot in the Cajuns’ repertoire that hasn’t been on display yet in 2014.
“There are a lot of things we will adapt to,” he said. “Each week, you game-plan things that you add within your scheme. By no means will we change anything we are doing. We are confident in what we are doing, and we are full-speed-ahead.”
Hudspeth said he will look for his secondary to subdue Bo Wallace and the prolific Ole Miss passing attack. In two games, Wallace has completed 72.7 percent of his passes, throwing for 707 yards and five touchdowns. Hudspeth said Wallace’s leadership cannot be underestimated.
“When you’ve been in the fire as much as he has, your mettle is tested and you’re strong,” Hudspeth said. “(Wallace) is a competitor. He throws his body around. He gets the ball to his playmakers, and he’s not afraid to run. He knows that system and plays with good tempo.”
Wallace’s tendency to turn the ball over is not lost on Hudspeth, who has been thirsting for his team to create takeaways. The Cajuns have yet to create a takeaway in 2014, and Hudspeth said he is hammering that point home.
“That is one thing we have not done a good job of, and it has been critical in our first two games,” Hudspeth said. “That is something we have to stress hard. We have to get turnovers if we are even going to have a chance.”
Cajuns defensive back Dominick Jones said he understands the third-and-long conversions that gave Louisiana Tech so many second chances cannot occur against Ole Miss if the Cajuns expect to win the game. Jones said the defense may have gotten relaxed during those third-and-long situations and taken the defensive stand for granted.
“We may have thought we were getting off the field already,” Jones said, “but we didn’t execute the plan. We practice that all week, and we had a good scheme for third down. We just have to execute.”
Jones said the loss was a wakeup call. He said he knows Ole Miss will come in with a prolific passing attack, but practicing against guys like Jamal Robinson every day prepares the defense well.
“Jamal is one of the best players and receivers that I have ever come across,” Jones said. “As long as he makes our DBs better, we can go into that game feeling confident.”