LAFAYETTE — Even though the Louisiana-Lafayette football team caught a break from the heat Tuesday night thanks to the combination of a light rain shower and an indoor walk-through session, they had to fight through a different opponent.
“We are deep in camp now, so fatigue is starting to set in — sore muscles and small little nicks and bumps are starting to show themselves,” coach Mark Hudspeth said. “But our guys are pushing and still getting better. I’m really proud of their work.”
One unit that has stepped up during the first handful of practices is the Cajuns’ linebacking corps. Upperclassmen such as senior Dominique Tovell, junior Tre’maine Lightfoot and juniors Otha Peters and Kevin Fouquier have provided a presence. “Our linebackers are going to be deep,” Hudspeth said. “They are coming on pretty good.”
Ready, set ... scrimmage
The Cajuns will have their first scrimmage of camp Wednesday, which will feature a lot of situational work over roughly 90 minutes or so at Cajun Field. “I want us to play hard — that’s what we do,” Hudspeth said. “I don’t expect anything less than our guys giving great effort on the field. We will be at Cajun Field. When we step on that turf, you expect your guys to play hard. I think they will.”
One goal will be for the players and coaches to see who is able to take a step up on the depth chart.
“It will be a big scrimmage for a lot of guys because we are going to see what we’ve got at certain positions and see if some depth is going to start to develop,” Hudspeth said.
The new blood
The scrimmage will continue the evaluation process for first-year defensive coordinator Melvin Smith as the defensive staff members continue to do their visual evaluations. For Fouquier, the changes provide a new wrinkle to this stage of camp.
“When you bring in new blood, it helps guys get refocused,” Fouquier said. “Guys can re-showcase their ability to a different set of eyes.”
Even with the new faces, the linebacking unit has formed a bond.
“One of our themes on defense is ‘I’ve got your back,’ ” Fouquier said. “I’m coming in there. I might miss a tackle. I know Otha, Tre’maine or Dominique is coming to come clean him up for me or vice versa.”
That confidence has helped Fouquier focus on an individual job.
“We all have a role,” he said. “It’s about doing your job. We are separate parts, but we are a unit.”
Pace out for season
Junior wide receiver Lance Pace suffered a season-ending knee injury during Tuesday’s morning practice session. Hudspeth mentioned freshman receiver Keenan Barnes as a guy who has stood out during the first week of camp. Fellow freshman Michael Jacquet has also picked up playing time at the slot position.