LAFAYETTE — The Louisiana-Lafayette football team has reached the halfway point of spring practice and will now take a week and a half off during the university’s spring break period.
While the off period interrupts the practice schedule, coach Mark Hudspeth said it’s coming at the right time.
“We’ve got a lot of guys sort of nicked up,” Hudspeth said. “The one positive about having the break in the middle is it allows you to sort of heal some guys up that are a little nicked up, and hopefully get those guys back.
“It sort of gives you a mental break, too. It’s not a season, but still, spring ball is five weeks and it’s every day for five weeks. So having a break in the middle is not always a bad thing.”
Among the players who have missed practice recently are offensive lineman Rico Robinson, linebacker Alonzo Brown, running back Jalen Nixon and wide receivers Gabe Fuselier and Shelby Christy.
Wide receiver Jared Johnson also has not participated this spring as he is still recovering from a season-ending injury he sustained before last year started.
“I don’t know about Jared,” Hudspeth said. “We’re hoping for Jalen. Jared will be questionable, but we expect him back full-go in the summer.”
Nixon, who switched to running back this spring after starting four games at quarterback last season, has yet to participate in spring practice, but Hudspeth said he should be ready to go by the time the team returns.
The Cajuns should also benefit from the return of Elijah McGuire, who has competed with the basketball team during its postseason run. The CollegeInsider.com Tournament will be over by the time the Cajuns return to practice.
After Wednesday’s practice was over, Hudspeth had a lengthy discussion with his team to use its off time wisely.
“That’s what half of our post-practice discussion was, just following our core values, being smart — being safe, more importantly,” Hudspeth said. “Hopefully everybody comes back safe and makes good decisions over the break.
“We’ve all gone to spring break. Everybody has, including me. That’s just part of it. You want them to have a good time, you want them to enjoy the break, but you want them to make good decisions.”
After Hudspeth was done telling his team to make smart decisions during spring break, a pair of notable former Ragin’ Cajuns held court with this year’s current team.
Bill Bentley and Melvin White, both of whom have carved out NFL careers since leaving the university in 2012 and 2013 respectively, addressed the team after Wednesday’s practice.
Hudspeth didn’t elaborate on what they said, but he knew there were some open ears while they were speaking.
“If you’re a current league player, you’ve got some instant credibility,” Hudspeth said. “These two guys have been there, they’ve been successful. It’s always encouraging when they’ve seen some of their own talking to them, and they know … they’ve come from here and made it.”
Patrick Morton, who spent three years with the Cajuns as a scout team quarterback, has decided to leave the team.
“Patrick has decided to hang it up and concentrate on school,” Hudspeth said. “I appreciate Patrick and his hard work, he’s been a really good Ragin’ Cajun teammate.”
Morton played high school football at John Curtis in River Ridge.