In the immediate aftermath of UL-Lafayette’s 48-20 loss to Louisiana Tech, coach Mark Hudspeth said adversity has a knack for pointing out the true leaders on a football team.
It didn’t take long for that to be settled.
“When your quarterback is grabbing the bull by the horns, you’re pretty excited about it,” Hudspeth said.
The team had its usual day off Monday, but senior quarterback Terrance Broadway, joined by senior defensive lineman Christian Ringo, called the team together anyway for a players-only meeting at Cajun Field.
The purpose was to deliver a message, but also to gauge where his team was at mentally. Broadway was happy with what he saw in front of him.
“Before I even started talking, I just looked around to see who was looking at me,” Broadway said. “The whole team was just locked in.”
The message? Put the outcome of the Tech game away in the deepest recesses of memory, but remember the way it felt to get thumped and use it as fuel to get better.
And, just as important, Broadway asked his teammates to remember why they ended up on the blown out side of the scoreboard and challenged them to not let that happen again.
“We put it (Saturday’s loss) to bed Sunday, but there was something more to be said,” said sophomore linebacker Kevin Fouquier. “I feel like, and the rest of the team feels like, we were not looking past Tech — but we didn’t approach them with the right mindset.
“We were counting the periods instead of making the periods count at practice.”
The message was also about unity.
“Together we stand, divided we fall,” Broadway said. “Together we’re going to move forward from this loss.”
And that is precisely what Hudspeth wants to hear.
Much of the talk this week has centered around the Cajuns’ drubbing at the hands of Tech. Despite that, to a man, coaches and players say they put the game in the rearview mirror after grading the film Sunday.
But the players are also faced with dilemma of forgetting about the game while remembering it all at once. Hudspeth wants his team to come out of the loss with a chip on its shoulder.
“We’re not dwelling on it, but it’s still there,” Broadway said. “We know we’re a better team than what we showed Saturday.”
Players-only meetings have not been very common during the Hudspeth era, but the coach had no problem with the timing of this one.
Hudspeth, a self described Mississippi boy, dug deep to his rural roots for an analogy to describe where his team sat after the loss.
“Sometimes your four-wheel drive gets stuck,” Hudspeth said. “You’ve either got to go get a tractor and pull it out, or you tie that winch to a tree and pull it out. Either way, we’re going to get it out, and we’re going to get it out by doing what we do best.
“That’s working hard, staying accountable, doing the right things on and off the field and improving as a team. If we do that, I have no doubt this football team is going to bounce back fast.”
So the team turns on its selective memory. It’s done thinking about last week’s game, but it’s not done thinking about what it felt like in the locker room after the game and why it got to that point.
“We have moved on,” Hudspeth said. “Life is about 10 percent what happens to you, but it’s about 90 percent how you respond or react to it. I really believe with the character of this football team that they’re going to respond in a big way.”