LAFAYETTE — Devin Scott was a step behind the defense in the first quarter of the Cajuns 19-9 win against South Alabama, but that didn’t come as much of a surprise.
“I think he was a 10.3, 10.4 (second) 100-meter track guy in high school,” coach Mark Hudspeth said. “He’s pretty fast.”
He’s probably the fastest guy on the team, but more on that later. What mattered was that Scott had his man beat, and quarterback Terrance Broadway saw him streaking downfield.
Might as well take a shot on third-and-28. Broadway heaved it right into the teeth of a stiff north-to-south wind, and Scott slowed to track the underthrown ball.
Freeze the play at this moment to consider what has transpired in Scott’s young career up until this point.
He’s been a step behind defenders before, but he had yet to haul in the deep ball that was supposed to be his specialty. Because beating the man across from you is only one part of the playmaking process.
The other part? Actually coming down with the ball. He was accomplishing part No. 1 with regularity, but part No. 2, for whatever reason, had eluded Scott.
But he’s been showing signs lately that he might be starting to figure it out.
He earned the start at outside receiver against South Alabama. It’s a position that, in the Cajuns offense, is usually reserved for receivers taller than the 5-foot-11 Scott. He was there because his speed makes him a threat, but he had yet to find a way to make that speed result in a big play — the key word being “yet.”
Though he hadn’t given Broadway a reason to keep taking shots downfield, Scott kept plugging away, and Broadway kept going for the deep ball.
“Every week I tell him, ‘Just make one play for me. You do that, I’ll be able to trust you like no other,’” Broadway said after the game.
Sooner or later, he would have to make something happen.
“I know he wanted me to make plays for him,” Scott said. “He’d been trying to get to me all season, and I know it was about that time to make a play to earn his trust.”
Unfreeze the play and watch it unfold. Consider that trust earned.
Scott came back for the ball and made the play Broadway had been looking for. He fought off a defender with one arm and reeled the ball in with the other. The speed has always been there, but for at least one play, Scott showed a little toughness too.
The career-long 45-yarder converted the third-and-forever and set the Cajuns up to score the game’s first points. But the catch could have more significant implications in the long term.
“To make a catch like that early in the game I think is going to be a big step in him moving forward to hopefully being one of our playmakers in the future,” Hudspeth said. “He’s a kid that’s continuing to get better, he just needed a shot in the arm of confidence. I think he’s got it.”
That confidence goes two ways, though.
As the season goes on, Broadway might now have a little more confidence in Scott’s ability to bring the ball down the next time he gets open — and with his speed, odds are he’ll be open again.
Scott fidgeted a bit when asked if he was the fastest player on the team, but maybe it was his newfound confidence coming through when he said, “Yeah, you could say I’m the fastest guy on the team.”
He can recall only one time when he tested his speed against someone else, and that was last year when he edged former Cajun receiver Darryl Surgent in a footrace.
Has anyone tested that speed since?
“Nah,” Scott said. “I don’t think so.”