LAFAYETTE — Saturday’s Louisiana-Lafayette football scrimmage was either good or bad, depending on your preference.
Offensive minds were thrilled by the two long touchdowns the Ragin’ Cajuns offense exploded for, including two scores from quarterback Brooks Haack to junior speedster Devin Scott and a third that was called back for a penalty.
“We threw the deep ball today as well as I’ve seen us throw it, especially at this time of year,” coach Mark Hudspeth said. “I thought our receivers adjusted well to the ball today, that was pretty evident.”
But people longing to see a defense make strides after giving up too many big plays a year ago might’ve come away disappointed.
But even that can be taken positively.
“That was good to see so we can go back and get some things corrected,” Hudspeth said. “We wanted to evaluate some guys. We had some young guys that we put in those positions today.”
Haack had the best overall day of the three quarterbacks competing for the starting job, completing 6-of-10 for 111 yards and two scores.
He and Scott connected on what would’ve been their second 60-plus yard score of the day on a high-arcing shot down the sideline, but it was taken off the board.
“They seem to have a little combination, don’t they?,” Hudspeth said. “I thought they threw and caught well together.”
But Haack was also a little rattled early in the scrimmage, and Hudspeth liked the way Jalen Nixon operated in a full-contact situation.
“Jalen did some nice things and showed his athletic ability scrambling and making some nice runs and stepping up,” Hudspeth said. “I thought he threw the ball well, too.”
The Cajuns pass rush made an impact early in the scrimmage, even playing without injured defensive linemen Taboris Lee and Rumaine Douglas. Darzil Washington made two sacks, and quarterbacks generally weren’t afforded much time.
Hudspeth wasn’t happy with a couple critical penalties. Including the penalty that wiped out the long touchdown to Scott, the Cajuns also had a facemask take away what would’ve been a safety, and a couple offside calls gave the quarterbacks an opportunity to take a risk-free shot down the field.
That being said, Hudspeth said he was happy with his team’s effort level Saturday.
Like they said they planned to do back on National Signing Day, the Cajuns made a late addition to their 2015 signing class this week, bringing in left tackle Raynard Ford of ASA College in New York city.
“He’ll be a left tackle,” Hudspeth said. “He could maybe play guard, too, but we signed him as a tackle. Big athletic kid has three years left to play, and that’s huge. We’re pretty excited about that.”
Ford played quarterback in high school but continued to grow after his prep career ended and transitioned from quarterback to tight end to offensive lineman.
“He’s going to be an athletic tackle,” Hudspeth said. “He’s a strong kid if you look at him. He’s imposing.”
Ford joins junior transfer defensive back Savion Brown as a late addition to the Cajuns 2015 signing class, which now stands at 26.
UL-Lafayette Director of Player Personnel Ryan Trichel said the Cajuns hosted more than 200 high school sophomores for Sophomore Day. The young players watched the scrimmage, then took a tour of the facilities and met the coaches after.
“We’re trying to get them more exposed at an earlier age to what we’re doing here,” Hudspeth said. “Now, in the next two years, hopefully they’ll be following our program more because they’ve learned more about us.
“I just think we’re one of the best kept secrets around. Until you get here and you really see what we have to offer, you just don’t know.”
Big-legged Aussie, Part Two
Freshman punter Stephen Coutts certainly looks like he’s in line to replace his Australian countryman Daniel Cadona at punter. The early enrollee boomed several punts to the delight of his new coach.
“We knew he was pretty talented, but he is way beyond our expectations right now,” Hudspeth said. “I think he can really be a weapon next year.”
Senior wide receiver Jamal Robinson went through drills and a light practice with the team before the scrimmage, but he watched the actual game play from the sideline.
Hudspeth doesn’t see the value in letting his talented wide receiver, who is coming off a pair of injuries which ended what would’ve been his senior season last year, take the field any earlier than he needs to.
“He probably could go. You just don’t want to rush it,” Hudspeth said. “… We want to make sure that foot is healed completely before we rush him.”
Red-White Game ahead
The Ragin’ Cajuns will hold their annual Red-White Spring Game on Saturdayat 5 p.m. at Cajun Field. Gates will open at 4:30 p.m. and admission is free.