The last three games for Louisiana-Lafayette have resulted in the first three-game losing streak under coach Mark Hudspeth.
That’s unfamiliar territory for a program that came from the Sun Belt Conference cellar-dweller before Hudspeth’s arrival, to three consecutive bowl wins and unanimous preseason conference favorites in 2014 with giant expectations.
Those expectations have largely gone by the wayside, but quarterback Terrance Broadway said there isn’t a single player in the Cajuns locker room who thinks this season is over.
“Our locker room is good,” Broadway said. “We lost two straight before last week (and) everyone said the same things about us. We ignored it. We have to put it behind us and block out the noise, start the season over.”
That is exactly what Hudspeth said, touting an “0-0 slate.” The Cajuns have a bye before facing Georgia State in the Sun Belt Conference opener next Saturday at Cajun Field.
“We can start clean and learn from what we just did,” Hudspeth said. “It has been a little different year this year. It hasn’t been easy putting all the pieces in place. (The) first three years, everything fell in place. We didn’t have any injuries and got a bounce or two.
“This year, we haven’t had any bounces and we’ve had injuries. It hasn’t come together quite as easily. I keep reiterating that there are only six teams in the nation that have won three straight bowl games. That is (because) it’s hard to do.”
Hudspeth said he is using the adversity as a life lesson and said the team is responding well. He said the way the team is handling it has him confident the season will turn around.
“Sometimes, if you start putting other things first in your life, this life will knock you down a notch,” Hudspeth said. “We have to keep the main thing the main thing. We can’t get away from what got us to this point: being humble, being hard workers and doing the little things and playing with a lot of energy and passion.”
Overconfidence may have crept into the Cajuns’ psyche after the season opener against Southern, UL Lafayette’s only win thus far. Hudspeth said the season’s shortcomings after the Southern game have taught both players and coaches to stay grounded.
“Sometimes you can think you’re too good and get knocked to your knees,” Hudspeth said. “A lot of teams handling this adversity could start taking a step back and you start seeing attitudes go wrong and you see selfish players. This team is handling this adversity in a phenomenal way. In times like this, you either pull together or pull apart and that will determine your legacy. This team is pulling together.”
Senior Trevence Patt said overcoming the early season woes is not about attitude, but about performance. He said losing games is not all that foreign and said the team is just itching to get back on the field.
“We just want to get on our usual track of winning and being a winning program,” Patt said. “The past three years, we lost three games, too. We can just win out this year. That is why we are still positive about this year.”
Hudspeth said they are relying on the senior leadership to get them through the bye week and coming out on the other side ready to compete against Georgia State.
“They remember that we have been through tough times and we have pulled through it,” Hudspeth said. “I told them today: Tough times don’t last, tough people do. If you believe in yourself and keep working hard and doing the right things, good things will happen.
“I see their attitudes and the way they practice. They’re out there flying around with a good energy level. If I didn’t see those things, I might not be as confident. I am confident we will be able to turn this corner.”