Ragin’ Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth’s favorite flavor is the one that wins him football games.
The coach and local media were both fond of using the term “vanilla” to describe the Cajuns’ offensive gameplan last week against Southern.
Another couple ways to describe it: bland, old-fashioned, simple.
That won’t be the case this week against Louisiana Tech. Hudspeth is opening up his Baskin Robbins playbook and utilizing all 31 flavors.
“Yeah, rocky road, cookies and cream, you name it,” Hudspeth said. “We’re not holding back anything, I can assure you that.”
Part of the reason the Cajuns will open it up this week is because there is a familiar face on the opposing sideline.
Hudspeth and Louisiana Tech defensive coordinator Manny Diaz were on the same staff at Mississippi State, leading Hudspeth to believe Diaz may have some tricks up his sleeve this weekend.
“I know Manny will have another plan for us this week that we have not seen,” Hudspeth said. “We are going to have to be ready to make adjustments on the field throughout the game. That’s part of the chess match of football and that’s the challenge.”
Senior quarterback Terrance Broadway is fine with whatever the coaches tell him to run, as long as its working. If the team can just line up and beat the guys across from it with their simplest formula, like the Cajuns did Saturday, Broadway is content to hand the ball off every play.
Alonzo Harris would be fine with that strategy. The senior running back fits well in a simple smash-mouth setting. But he also realizes the advantage of keeping defenses on their toes, especially when he’s working in tandem with sophomore Elijah McGuire.
“Me and Elijah are two different backs,” Harris said. “We can play smash mouth football, we can throw a few different twists in there, put us both in the game at the same time. Do a few things that teams are not used to.”
Said Broadway, “If we have to open it up our playbook, then we’re ready to open it up.”
That will likely be the case this weekend. The Bulldogs were beaten up by a top-five team in Oklahoma last weekend, but that game didn’t accurately reflect the caliber of team Louisiana Tech is, Broadway said.
“They’re a very aggressive team,” Broadway said. “They played a really good Oklahoma team so the stats didn’t show how good of a team they are, but they’re a very aggressive team with some very talented corners. It’s going to be a big task for us this weekend.”
So why go vanilla at all last weekend, especially when there are so many more exciting options to choose from?
The objective wasn’t to bore Southern to death, nor was it to keep plays off the film reel so more stout competition couldn’t scout against it -- at least, that’s that’s the story Hudspeth is sticking to. The bland game plan was put in place to give his players the best chance to succeed in their season opener.
“We wanted to be very sharp and set the tone, play hard and play with a lot of passion,” Hudspeth said. “We didn’t want to handcuff playmakers by making them think a lot. We want our guys to play fast, and for us it’s about getting the ball to our playmakers.”
And that’s exactly what they did. Almost all of the Cajuns’ show-stoppers came through with at least one big play Saturday against Southern.
Regardless of what the flavor of the week is, it all boils down to getting the ball to the electric playmakers.
“Give those guys a chance to make plays,” Hudspeth said.