LAFAYETTE — As the Louisiana-Lafayette football team has steadily given their freshmen receivers additional responsibilities to help with the workload that would have been absorbed by injured receivers Jared Johnson and Lance Pace, coach Mark Hudspeth likened one of those youngsters to a former Cajuns wideout Thursday afternoon in the aftermath of Wednesday’s scrimmage.
“Gary Haynes has Harry Peoples written all over his forehead,” Hudspeth said of Haynes, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound native of Manvel, Texas. “We don’t use that term lightly.”
Peoples, who led the Cajuns in receiving yards in 2012 with 817 yards, scored five touchdowns that season and had a 13-catch effort in a 31-27 win over Sun Belt Conference foe Western Kentucky.
Hudspeth characterized the recent defensive line play as good — with hopes that there is one more step left to be taken. “I’m waiting for that one guy just to play great,” he said. “Taboris Lee played a lot for us last year. He’s still trying to get back from an injury. He needs to get a little more consistent, but he’s playing well at times. Ladarrius Kidd’s another kid that’s got to be a really good player for us. Blain Winston ... all these guys are playing well, but nobody has stepped up and played great at that position. But we are getting better.”
Making a move
Chris Collins has been moved from defense to wide receiver. Hudspeth hinted the switch affords Collins a better opportunity for more work in a thinner receiving corps compared to a more crowded defensive squad.
“That is to give us a little more depth there (at receiver) in practice,” Hudspeth said. “The line is much shorter to get on the field at receiver than it is at outside linebacker.”
Some special moments
Hudspeth saw a little of everything from his freshmen special teams members in Wednesday’s first scrimmage of camp.
Punter Steven Coutts faced a first-time challenge and kicker Stevie Artigue scored some points in a situational drill.
“It was encouraging to see Artigue hit a 50-yard field goal in the two-minute period,” Hudspeth said.
“Coutts was a little bit inconsistent, but that was his first time ever punting the ball with a live rush coming at him, so that was a little different for him. He got better as the day wore on.”
As running backs Torrey Pierce, Montrel Carter and Effrem Reed have settled into a camp rotation along with starter Elijah McGuire, Hudspeth praised the ability of the upperclassmen in that group to handle a varying workload from day to day.
“Experience helps a lot. A lot of young kids probably wouldn’t handle that well when you’re only getting a certain number of snaps, and you’re sharing time with three other guys,” Hudspeth said. “They are mature, and they know their role.
“They are willing to do anything we ask of them. There is a reason that Effrem Reed, Montrel Carter and Torrey Pierce have four bowl rings. It’s because they are unselfish, they work hard and they put the team first.”