LAFAYETTE — The Louisiana-Lafayette football team’s offense suffered a major blow in Tuesday’s 34-10 win at Texas State.
Senior wide receiver Jamal Robinson will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his right foot, coach Mark Hudspeth said Thursday at his weekly press luncheon.
Robinson injured his foot on the fourth play from scrimmage of the Cajuns’ win when a defender rolled over his ankle area on an incomplete pass intended for Robinson. Hudspeth declined to precisely diagnose Robinson’s injury, calling it “a lower leg injury.”
Quarterback Terrance Broadway had a bad gut feeling in the locker room at halftime when the Cajuns medical staff evaluated Robinson and he couldn’t walk. He approached Robinson afterward.
“My main thing was to ask him how he was doing — not physically, but mentally,” Broadway said. “I’ve been through that, I know the feeling, so I wanted to make sure he has his head in the right place.”
While the Cajuns will sorely miss their dynamic outside receiver, Hudspeth sounded confident that Robinson’s Cajuns playing days may not be over.
“We’re going to apply for a redshirt for hardship,” Hudspeth said. “I would find it disappointing if he did not get it. I feel like he’ll get it and get his fifth year back.”
If that were to happen, Broadway said it’d be a huge weight off Robinson’s shoulders.
“That would relieve a lot of the stress that he’s going through right now,” Broadway said. “That’d be big for him to come back and prove to everybody that he’s healthy and have a big season that he was destined to have this year.”
Robinson has 15 catches for 260 yards and four touchdowns, and he remains the team’s leading receiver despite only playing two full games. He missed two-and-a-half games while recovering from surgery on his left knee, and the offense struggled in his absence.
Without the threat of Robinson burning them over the top, opposing teams brought defenders down in the box to suffocate the Cajuns’ running and underneath passing games.
Though a large part of the statistical output can be attributed to playing a pair of outstanding defenses from Ole Miss and Boise State, the Cajuns’ two full games without Robinson resulted in their worst offensive performances of the season. Those games were the only ones in which the Cajuns were held to less than 20 points and 200 passing yards.
But the Cajuns found a way to move the ball Tuesday without Robinson on the field, posting season-high totals in yards (528) and rushing yards (288), perhaps because the weeks they spent without Robinson better prepared them for the chance that he’d be out of action again.
Hudspeth will use this week to evaluate who will occupy Robinson’s spot on the field.
“Have we exactly found out who we think can take his spot? No,” Hudspeth said. “We’ve got some guys who we’re going to have to expedite the process of their development to get the most out of what they can do at this point and utilize their strengths.”
The Cajuns have three sophomore receivers — C.J. Bates, Jared Johnson and Devin Scott — who likely will rotate in Robinson’s place. When pushed to pick who might have the leg up to take Robinson’s spot in the lineup, Broadway offered Bates, a junior-college transfer, as someone who most closely matches Robinson’s skill set.
“All those guys are good, but if I really had to pick someone right now to step up alongside James (Butler), it would probably be C.J.,” Broadway said. “He’s a very talented guy, he’s fast, he runs great routes. He’s more of a complement to James at this moment.”