Cajuns spring game
2 p.m. Saturday, Cajun Field
1. Tempo, tempo, tempo
There has been a lot of change on offense since the Ragin’ Cajuns last were on the field for a game. Offensive coordinator Jay Johnson is gone, and so is last year’s most frequently used starting quarterback, Brooks Haack. But the most noticeable difference Saturday should be the pace and space. The Cajuns have been working hard to implement an up-tempo attack that spreads the field, and the bones of that change should be on display Saturday.
2. Is Mr. Wright actually Mr. Right?
Elijah McGuire, easily the Cajuns’ most notable player, will not take any offensive snaps in Saturday’s game, but that should simply serve as another open door for Jordan Wright to state his case. The redshirt freshman made the most of his opportunity when McGuire missed the first several weeks of practice with the basketball team and has been a frequent target of praise from coach Mark Hudspeth.
3. Seeking: Playmakers
The search is on for the next Jamal Robinson — or at least a viable alternative. One of the biggest goals this spring has been to find a playmaking wide receiver from a deep pool of athletic youngsters. Keenan Barnes and Jamarcus Bradley could be the answer. This should apply on the defensive side as well. The Cajuns forced just 11 turnovers last season, tied for second-worst among Division I teams.
4. Young in the trenches
Bradley and Barnes aren’t the only youngsters who could be playing a significant role next season. Redshirt freshman Robert Hunt has worked with the first-team offensive line all spring at left guard and is on his way toward earning a start in the opener. Sophomore defensive end Mario Osborne also has been working with the first team, but he figures to have a little more competition this fall once some junior-college transfers arrive.
What you’ll see
Quarterback competition: Sophomore Jordan Davis and redshirt freshman Chris Weaver are locked in a battle for the starting gig. Saturday should be a good gauge of how close things actually are.
Edge rusher: Redshirt freshman Joe Dillon drew rave reviews at the end of last season, and he’ll get his first real chance Saturday to show people why his ability makes the coaches so excited.
What you won’t see
New wrinkles: A careful observer will notice the uptick in tempo, but forget about seeing any grand update in the Cajuns’ new offensive scheme. Coach Mark Hudspeth is notorious for keeping things under wraps, so don’t expect to be blown away by the play calls.
Injury report: The following players will not participate or will only participate in a non-contact manner: Shelby Christy, Karmichael Dunbar, Gabe Fuselier, Christian Goodlett, Gary Haynes, Jared Johnson, Taboris Lee, Elijah McGuire, Jalen Nixon, Otha Peters and Corey Turner.
The new guys
Will Mike D. be there? Maybe this should go under “What you won’t see.” Mike Desormeaux is the Cajuns’ receivers coach … just not officially. The school hasn’t announced it publicly. Will he be able to coach, or will he be limited to the halftime quarterback competition?
No new faces, but ...: The Cajuns do not have any early enrollees or midyear transfers on the team, but Tracy Walker is playing linebacker for the first time after spending his first two seasons at safety.