LAFAYETTE — In the name of depth, the Louisiana-Lafayette football practice was put on hold a couple times Thursday.
Coach Mark Hudspeth said he worked left tackle Grant Horst and right guard Donovan Williams — both starters — in at center Thursday, and the results weren’t pretty right away.
“We had some snap issues (Thursday),” Hudspeth said. “We have a couple new centers, guys that have been working on taking snaps at center, and we probably wasted about eight plays of team (drills) today because of poor snaps.
“We’ve got to stay after practice today to get that cleaned up. That’s really the first issue we’ve had at that.”
Williams and Horst were getting reps because the only other true center on the roster is true freshman Cole Prudhomme, and the Cajuns have more experienced reserves at guard and tackle.
But the hope is that neither Williams nor Horst sees playing time at all at center, because starter Eddie Gordon has looked solid in camp, Hudspeth said.
Gordon battled for the starting job last fall before eventually losing it to Terry Johnson. Despite not seeing starters reps, Gordon learned while watching. All that remains is to prove it on the field.
“He’s played behind a really good one last year and learned from him,” Hudspeth said. “He’s got a great base. He’s very smart; he just doesn’t have a lot of experience. That’s just going to take time, he’ll only get better with time, just like our quarterbacks, just like all of our young players.
“Eventually, everyone gets their first shot at their first job.”
Hudspeth brushed away a question about whether the quarterback competition has made things more difficult for Gordon in preseason practice.
It’s not the man receiving the snaps, Hudspeth said, but the continuity of the calls being made.
“What confuses centers is when quarterbacks are missing calls and checks,” Hudspeth said. “It creates a little confusion. But as long as the quarterbacks are all on the same page and getting us in the right protections, we should be OK.”
A dual quarterback system?
Quarterback Jalen Nixon, in the heat of a battle with Brooks Haack for the starter’s job, took repetitions with the running backs during one drill Thursday.
Nixon would hand off a few times, then move to the back of the running back line and take a handoff himself.
Hudspeth said there’s “absolutely not” a possibility of Nixon making a full-time switch to running back if he doesn’t win the job, but he does want to take full advantage of his skills.
“Just in a little short-yardage,” Hudspeth said. “We’re playing around with that because he’s a 240-pound back. … That’s what makes him so dangerous; he’s a true dual threat guy.”
That includes, Hudspeth said, a possibility of both Haack and Nixon being on the field in goal-line situations.
Possible position switch
Ethan Rose, who prepped at nearby Northside High, worked in at wide receiver Thursday after spending all of his previous practices at defensive back.
Hudspeth said Rose approached him about the move, but he didn’t make it sound as if it was permanent.
“This is nothing that is set in stone. I don’t even know how he did, yet really,” Hudspeth said. “We’re going to see how it goes for a day or two; We do need a little bit of depth. But we need him at defensive back probably more than anything.”
Dog days are over?
The team was originally scheduled to practice for a second time Thursday afternoon, but instead Hudspeth is making good on a promise.
“We’re taking the guys to the pool (Thursday),” Hudspeth said. “It was supposed to be yesterday. The rain sort of washed us out. As hot as it’s been this camp, as hard as they’ve worked, man, you owe these guys a pool day. I’m going to have to make good on that deal. It’ll be fun.”
Also included on Thursday’s schedule: a team meeting featuring baseball coach Tony Robichaux as a guest speaker.
“I’m pretty excited about that,” Hudspeth said.