LAFAYETTE — Saturday’s game against Troy will not serve as an audition for the 2016 season for Louisiana-Lafayette.
Yes, redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan Davis is likely to get his most significant playing time of the season in the 2015 finale, but coach Mark Hudspeth said it’s not necessarily because he wants to see how Davis fares in a meaningful setting ahead of what will likely be another competition at the position next season.
The goal, first and foremost, is to get a win, and Hudspeth said he thinks Davis can help the Cajuns reach that goal.
“This is not going to be a spring tryout, this is going to be playing to win the game,” Hudspeth said. “We do want to play Jordan, because we think he could help us win the game. That’s why we’re playing him. But this will be played to win the game.”
Davis led the Cajuns’ only scoring drive of the game last week against Appalachian State, completing all seven of his pass attempts for 60 yards and adding another 21 on the ground, including a 20-yard touchdown sprint.
That was enough for Hudspeth to say after the game that Davis would play again against Troy, a statement he reiterated Monday.
“He’ll get a series, maybe two or more,” Hudspeth said. “But we have not finalized a game plan of how much or when we’re planning on playing Jordan, we just know he’s going to play.”
But Hudspeth is not ready to hand over complete control of the reigns of what has been a sputtering offense to the redshirt freshman.
“He probably just don’t deserve to start quite yet more than anything,” Hudspeth said. “He just don’t deserve it. He’s worked hard, (and) these other guys though have worked hard also.
“He’s still going to play, I just think Brooks (Haack) deserves to start because he’s doing some good things.”
Haack has started each of the past four games for the Cajuns, and he also led a second-half comeback against Louisiana-Monroe. The Cajuns’ 1-3 record in those starts and their struggles to put the ball in the end zone don’t fall squarely on Haack’s shoulders, Hudspeth said.
In his past five games, Haack has completed 82 of 131 passes for 928 yards with five touchdowns against two interceptions. They’re solid overall numbers, but they haven’t resulted in much on the scoreboard. The Cajuns are averaging just 23.8 points per game during that stretch.
“We’ve got to be able to score points to win games, and right now we haven’t done a great job of that,” Hudspeth said. “Now, is that just on the quarterback? Absolutely not. It’s a team effort.
“I thought Brooks did a really good job with the pressure he was faced with the other night. To create when he had pressure on him, to get away from it and make some big plays. I thought he continued to take a really positive step forward.”
Outside of the quarterback position, there aren’t many more young players Hudspeth can put to the test anyway.
Looking up and down the depth chart, there are only a handful of positions with players that are returning next year and haven’t received significant playing time this season.
Those who haven’t played probably won’t benefit much from a few snaps here or there, Hudspeth said. And of his freshman class, only five have seen action for the Cajuns this season, a number that’s not about to change Saturday.
“It’s not like we can throw anybody else in there to try them out, because everybody else is redshirting and we’re not going to pull a redshirt this late in the season,” Hudspeth said.