LAFAYETTE — Several spring practices into his senior season, University of Louisiana at Lafayette running back Effrem Reed has gone from waiting to working toward more responsibility.
Reed, who ran for 138 yards and a touchdown last season as an understudy to former Cajuns running back Alonzo Harris, has picked up a bigger share of the workload as Elijah McGuire continues to rehab a shoulder injury.
“I want to help the team, and I have to give the coaches a reason to play me more,” Reed, a former Dutchtown High School star, said. “If you look at me, Alonzo and Elijah, we are three different backs. Elijah is one cut and go. One thing I picked up and learned from Elijah is needing to be patient (as a play develops).”
Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth said the learning process for Reed has not been an overnight development. It has been a consistent progression even when Reed was waiting behind other players during previous years.
“Effrem has always been very accountable and has turned into a leader. I think his preparation has always been the same either way,” Reed said.
When true freshmen hit the practice field in the fall, they will experience the education Reed has seen play out a handful of times.
“Every year, the freshmen are a little jittery or anxious,” Reed said. “They want to impress the coaches. For me, one thing that has increased is my leadership. On the field, it’s about being both aggressive and patient. I just want to attack in a different way.”
Hudspeth said he hopes the increased workload for seniors like Reed and Montrel Carter will have a carry-over effect once fall comes.
“You never want to lose guys to injury, but guys getting more reps has helped us,” he said.
As Carter and Reed continue to get the ball during spring drills and scrimmages, Reed said the physical progression of the running backs is a tandem effort with the offensive line also setting a tone.
“Coach (Mitch Rodrigue) always does a good job with the line and having those men be physical up front,” Reed said. “Without them, we couldn’t perform. We have to congratulate them on a short run or a home run.”
Lights, camera, action
As the Cajuns have worked on developing depth within the defensive line, Hudspeth cited a couple of underclassmen for their recent efforts. Six-foot-8 sophomore tackle Sherard Johnson of Lake Forest, Florida, has found a rhythm as camp has progressed. “The light switch is trying to come on for Sherard,” Hudspeth said. “He is in better shape and he is holding his gap better (on the line). He is making progress. LaDarrius Kidd is having an excellent camp.”