LAFAYETTE — Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth has made a decision on a starting quarterback — probably.
“I’ve got a good idea of who it’s probably going to be,” Hudspeth said.
The Ragin’ Cajuns’ quarterback competition has been going since spring practice, and Hudspeth has maintained that he will not reveal his starter until kickoff of the season opener.
It was originally a three-man race, but Hudspeth has confirmed Jordan Davis is no longer in the running to start the opener. The Cajuns starter will either be Brooks Haack or Jalen Nixon.
Hudspeth still plans on keeping the decision private, and he doesn’t plan to break the news to the quarterbacks officially until Monday.
“We want both of our guys to prepare like starters,” Hudspeth said. “Both of them may play. We’ll see how the game flows. Both of them are going to be prepared to play, but in my mind I know who’s going to take the first snap.
“We’ll have that decision the first of next week. Both guys will continue working with the ones, but one guy will gravitate a little bit more.”
Hudspeth didn’t outright say it, but it sounds as if the only person who knows which direction the Cajuns will go is offensive coordinator Jay Johnson.
“We are 100 percent on the same page,” Hudspeth said when asked if he and Johnson arrived at the same conclusion.
There’s a “strong possibility” both quarterbacks will see the field against Kentucky, Hudspeth said, though it’s also possible the starter could stay on the field the entire game.
“It’ll all be a flow-of-the-game determination if we play two,” Hudspeth said.
Hudspeth also said the competition could open back up based on what he sees on the field in the opener.
“The true measure to really test quarterbacks is live competition,” Hudspeth said. “That will be the final test, although one of them will get to take the test first.”
Wisconsin is turning into a well-populated outpost for former Cajuns football players.
The Green Bay Packers agreed to terms with former Cajuns wide receiver James Butler on Thursday. Butler will join former teammates Alonzo Harris and Christian Ringo on the Packers’ roster.
Hudspeth was beyond thrilled when he heard the news.
“Boy, I’m going to tell you, I couldn’t be more fired up,” Hudspeth said. “When I heard that, I gave out a big ‘Geaux Cajuns.’ That guy is so deserving. Here’s a guy who caught 100 (passes from the JUGS machine) after the last practice of his career before the bowl game. Who does that? That guy has been what a true Ragin’ Cajun is.”
The Packers lost star receiver Jordy Nelson for the year during last weekend’s preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Butler will at least provide another set of hands for quarterbacks to throw to.
With the preseason already halfway over, Butler is a long shot to make the roster, but it’s possible he could make a strong impression and make the practice squad.
A Major talent
The Cajuns put Louisiana-Lafayette students through a series of football drills at Cajun Field for Student Appreciation Day. The kid who stole the show will be part of the Class of 2028.
Major Hudspeth, the 5-year-old son of coach Hudspeth, made a nice catch during a drill before he tiptoed down the sidelines and reached the nose of the ball just inside the pylon. Members of the football team mobbed Major in the end zone and lifted him up on their shoulders.
“That guy just blows my mind,” Hudspeth said about his son. “I’ve got to work on his end-zone antics, though. He’s got to hand the ball to the official. Too much watching NFL ball and Xbox-playing.”
Hudspeth’s oldest son, Gunner, is a freshman quarterback on his current roster. Based on the way Major approaches the game already, Hudspeth wouldn’t be surprised if he coaches a second son one day.
“We throw every night in the living room or out in the back yard,” Hudspeth said. “Every night, brother. He wants to make one-handed catches, he wants to do diving catches, he doesn’t want to just catch it. If I throw it right to him, ‘That’s too easy, Dad. Make me dive for it.’”