LAFAYETTE — The Louisiana-Lafayette football team already was replacing its starting tight end from last season. Now it’s going to have to do that without one of the players it was counting on to step up.
Sophomore Matthew Barnes was lost for the year after he tore his ACL during a team workout. Barnes recently said on his Twitter account that he has already gone through the surgery.
“I’m disappointed for Matt,” coach Mark Hudspeth said Saturday. “He had an outstanding spring and was ready to make a strong contribution this fall. Luckily Nick Byrne and Evan Tatford, who both have seen quality playing time, return.”
Byrne was the No. 2 option at tight end behind last year’s starter, Larry Pettis, and Tatford saw some playing time as well. The pair combined for eight catches last season.
Barnes was expected to be a sort of tight end/receiver hybrid that could stretch the field in the seam. He started last season’s opener as a slot receiver but was moved back to tight end and back down the depth chart after he struggled with drops.
Hudspeth said the team likely will move offensive lineman Greg Siener to tight end this summer, and he also said incoming freshman Carlos Robinson of Ouachita Parish now might have an opportunity to earn some early playing time.