Four downs at the Cajuns’ spring game: Even with vanilla scheme, defense solid _lowres

Advocate photo by LEE CELANO -- Joanna Lejeune plays with her 10-month-old son, Noah, during Louisiana-Lafayette's spring game on Saturday at Cajun Field.

1. QBs still too close to call

The spring game was supposed to be the final audition for Brooks Haack, Jalen Nixon and Jordan Davis to see which of the three signal-callers would go into fall camp as the starting quarterback, but after evaluating the entire spring, coach Mark Hudspeth said after the spring game Saturday that the competition would carry over into fall camp. None of the three had a particularly strong day. Haack led the way statistically, completing 6 of 13 passes for 52 yards with a long of 15.

2. No glimpse of new scheme

The Cajuns didn’t unveil anything new on the defensive side of the ball. They were still using a 3-4 defensive package, with one linebacker dropping down on the line as a standing pass rusher. Hudspeth said afterward he intentionally used a vanilla scheme, and still intends to show off whatever new defensive coaches Melvin Smith, Charlie Harbison, Mike Lucas and Levorn Harbin come up with schematically in the season opener at Kentucky. Even without the full scheme at its disposal, the defense did a solid job against the Cajuns’ offensive players, limiting them to 17 points.

3. Strong debut for specialists

Hudspeth is high on true freshman punter Stephen Coutts, who knocked three of his five punts inside the 20-yard line and had a long of 51. Coutts, who hails from Australia, is in line to replace his countryman, Daniel Cadona, at the punter position. Walk-on kicker Dylan Scheurich, who was named the most improved non-scholarship player at halftime, also drilled a 47-yard field goal attempt on his only try. The kick sailed through the uprights with plenty of room to spare, and Hudspeth said he’ll be given a chance to compete with incoming freshman Stevie Artigue for place-kicking duties.

4. What was with those points?

Unlike other programs who split the squad up into two fully complemented squads (a distinct offensive and defensive unit for each team), the Cajuns went strictly offense against defense, and awarded the defense points for impact plays they made. For instance: Darzil Washington scooped a fumble and scored on a 60-yard touchdown return … that counted for 11 points. According to a release before the game, the defense was awarded points for a turnover (five), three-and-out (three), red zone stops (three) and “special situations.” Hudspeth said afterward he came up with the scoring system himself.