LAFAYETTE — A healthy Trevence Patt might find his way back in the starting lineup this weekend.
But with redshirt freshman Tracy Walker playing well at the strong safety position, recording two interceptions in last week’s game, Patt won’t be sliding back in place of Walker. Instead, he might overtake junior Jevante Watson at cornerback.
“He may start at corner instead of Jevante,” coach Mark Hudspeth said. “By tomorrow (Friday), we’ll know.”
Patt has been dealing with a lingering ankle injury for the better part of this year. It’s not been bad enough to keep him off the field for the most part, but it has kept him from being his usual effective self.
He was a first team All-Sun Belt Conference selection in the preseason, after swatting away a conference-high 12 passes a year ago, mostly at cornerback.
He lost a step while dealing with the injury, but he’s shown flashes lately in practice of being the player he had been before this year.
“He’s getting more healthy,” Hudspeth said. “When he’s healthy, he’s a pretty good player. He’s just now getting back to where he can play at the level we expect him to play at.”
Lightfoot to stay in lineup
Look for linebacker Tre’maine Lightfoot to start his third consecutive game at middle linebacker, but don’t expect to find senior Trae Johnson nursing an injury on the sideline.
Lightfoot has supplanted Johnson, who had 28 tackles through three games before an injury forced him out of the Boise State game. Johnson is still the Cajuns second-leading tackler, but Lightfoot has moved ahead of the now-healthy Johnson in the lineup.
Lightfoot was suspended for the first six games of the season for undisclosed reasons, but the Cajuns coaches always pegged him as someone they could insert right away.
“We knew (Lightfoot) was a very physical player,” Hudspeth said. “We really felt like, in our minds, that he was going to be a starter this year. Then he got hit with a half-year suspension.”
Lightfoot was able to practice with the team during the suspension and often impressed while working with the scout team defense.
“All through the first six games on scout team, we can’t block him,” Hudspeth said. “He gives a great look. He’s very instinctive, he’s got a fun personality and he’s a smart football player. We just felt like he had the ability to be a good player.”
Lightfoot has 12 tackles through three games — two of which he started — including a career high six last week.
Century Mark (get it?)
He lost track of this fact in the day-to-day grind of preparing for a new team every week, but a win Saturday would give Hudspeth 100 in his career.
“You know what, now that you say that I remember thinking at the start of the season that I was at 93,” Hudspeth said. “I hadn’t even thought about it since then, how about that?”
The milestone is not even that personal, Hudspeth said, because of everybody else that had a role in achieving it.
“A lot of great players and a lot of great coaches have obviously played a huge part in getting to 100 wins,” Hudspeth said.
A win would also give Hudspeth 34 wins with the Cajuns to move him into a tie for fifth on the Cajuns all-time annals with Clement J. McNaspy, who went 34-15-4 in three separate stints in the early 1900s.