LAFAYETTE — Of the early enrollees to the UL-Lafayette football program, one has really turned heads in his first couple weeks.
“Kamar Greenhouse has had a really good camp,” said coach Mark Hudspeth. “He’s a guy that should be in high school English class right now.”
Greenhouse, a 6-foot-1 true freshman defensive back who prepped at Marksville High School, has impressed coaches with his combination of physical gifts and an ability not only to take direction, but to act on it.
“He’s got himself in pretty good shape – he can run,” Hudspeth said. “He’s coachable and he gets himself in the right positions. He’s got a great attitude. Kids that have a great attitude and they work hard typically end up being good players.”
With the Cajuns replacing two starters in the defensive backfield in Trevence Patt and Corey Trim, and another who played a key role off the bench in Sean Thomas, Greenhouse is making the most of his opportunity after foregoing the final semester of his senior year in high school.
So is junior college transfer Christian Goodlett, another big corner who has made an impression after an early setback.
“Christian Goodlett is going to be a kid that could earn a spot,” Hudspeth said. “He missed the first week of camp, and these last few days he’s shown that he could really come in and help us.”
Contributing right away is not an easy task. The Cajuns have five early enrollees, either straight out of high school or from the junior college ranks, and some are getting their eyes opened to the difference between their previous stop and Division I college football.
Running back Walter Williams has alternated between flashes of brilliance and a spinning head.
“Walter’s just got to learn the game,” Hudspeth said. “Right now, the game is not coming natural to him. He’s got a great skill set, but he’s got to figure out this college game. It’s way more complicated than anything he’s been used to.
“We’re throwing a lot at him. But I think once he starts learning that and understanding the game a little more, then he’ll really improve. He’s got a really big upside.”
Others, like former Helen Cox quarterback Dion Ray, are using the time to soak up as much information as possible while buried on the depth chart.
“At this point we don’t have the luxury to get four (quarterbacks) reps,” Hudspeth said. “He’s working hard when he gets his opportunities, and he understands that this first year he’s going to be redshirted. Next spring will be his opportunity.”
Take the good with the bad
A little more than halfway through spring drills, Hudspeth is content with what his team has been able to accomplish despite the fact that several projected key players haven’t been able to contribute because of injuries.
Among those who aren’t taking part in spring drills are running back Elijah McGuire and defensive linemen Rumaine Douglas and Taboris Lee.
“It’s been good and bad,” Hudspeth said. “Bad because a lot of key starters have missed spring ball because of postseason recoveries from injuries in the fall, but good in the aspect that a lot of young kids have gotten way more reps than they would’ve gotten if everybody would’ve been out here.”
But those reps, Hudspeth said, could be crucial when the actual season starts.
“They’ve been force fed and we’ve increased our depth by doing that,” Hudspeth said. “It could come back to pay off down the road by having more depth than we’ve ever had.”
Back on Broadway
Former Cajuns quarterback Terrance Broadway was in attendance at practice, standing near offensive coordinator Jay Johnson as the quarterbacks went through drills.
Broadway and the other draft-eligible players from the 2014 team will test themselves against the clock at next week’s pro day in Lafayette.
“I think it’s always neat when you have the veterans come out and watch practice,” Hudspeth said. “We’ve got a lot of those guys around training and getting ready for pro day. That’s pretty exciting.”