For those Louisiana-Lafayette football players who are trying to make their way up the depth chart, Saturday’s scrimmage is the final high-profile chance during fall camp to make a move.
“The (starters) are going to scrimmage, but it will be more of what we call a controlled tempo,” coach Mark Hudspeth said. “It will be full-speed, but probably will not be tackling to the ground. The (backups) will get a full dose of tackling. We need to keep teaching. We are still trying to develop depth.”
That development process includes figuring out which guys can handle game situations and apply everything that is learned during drills and meetings. A handful of players on the second-unit defense have made strides during fall camp. Defensive coordinator James Willis praised the progress of defensive tackle Jacoby Briscoe, linebacker T.J. Posey, defensive back Antoinne Adkins and safety Tracey Walker.
“Most spots are kind of spoken for on the first unit — you still have some question marks at positions,” Willis said. “Some of those spots we play by committee with a guy who will share time within the first unit. We coach the first group even harder than the second group. That sets the foundation and sets the pace for everybody else.”
The bowl effect
Because the Cajuns have won the New Orleans Bowl in each of the past three seasons, those extra practices and games have given Hudspeth an even clearer picture of what he has when it comes to making player evaluations during fall camp. “We have so many guys returning and so many guys that have played in so many games,” Hudspeth said. “We have had three years of 15 extra practices for bowl games. Many guys have played 39 college football games. I don’t think the risk is worth the reward to put them through a 90-play scrimmage.”
Peters’ transfer official
Hudspeth officially announcedFriday that linebacker Otha Peters has transferred to the program after playing his first two seasons at Arkansas.
Peters, a Covington native and member of the 2012 SEC All-Freshman Team, will have two years of eligibility remaining with the Ragin’ Cajuns beginning in the 2015 season.
“First of all, he’s a fine young man who comes from a very good family,” Hudspeth said. “We’re very proud to have him here. It was evident from day one that he is going to be able to help this football team and will make an immediate impact when he becomes eligible (in 2015). He’s going to make us a better football team now by pushing guys. You can tell he loves the game and we’re excited that he’s here.”
In two seasons with the Razorbacks, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Peters played in 17 games and recorded 41 tackles.
As a true freshman in 2012, Peters appeared in 10 games with three starts and 32 tackles. In his first career start, Peters recorded a career-high eight tackles and added a quarterback hurry at No. 12 South Carolina before posting eight stops the following week at Mississippi State.
Peters was limited to seven games for Arkansas in 2013, finishing with nine tackles, including a season-high three against South Carolina.
Ranked as the No. 6 inside linebacker in the nation coming out of high school, Peters recorded 153 tackles and 7.5 sacks as a senior at Covington High. Peters was named the Defensive MVP and the National Linebacker of the Year at the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and was a two-time all-district 6-5A selection.
Peters was rated the No. 4 overall prospect in Louisiana and the No. 126th-ranked prospect nationally in the nation by Rivals.com
Finding a role
Willis said the key for second-unit players on defense is finding their best attributes and focusing on those strengths. “We try to put those guys in a position to do what they do best,” Willis said. “They do have to do everything within a scheme. So we have to bring out that skill within a defensive scheme. Every kid on this team has a skill. Every kid has a role.”
Attack of the drones
The Cajuns have periodically have used high-level cameras (drones) during practices to help create recruiting videos and highlight videos. “It gives you a really unique (visual) perspective,” Hudspeth said. “It’s something different as far as highlights of players and recruiting videos. It can give you a straight down view.”
Three observations from Friday’s practice.
1. Hudspeth cited linebacker Kevin Fouquier for making major improvements through fall camp.
2. Defensive lineman Remaine Douglas batted down a swing pass from quarterback Brooks Haack.
3. Hudspeth noted that every player on the two-deep depth chart is healthy right now and on track to be available for the season opener.
Brian Hudgins and Louisiana-Lafayette sports information