LAFAYETTE — Two cornerbacks stood out to Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth when he was breaking down film from the Kentucky loss, and both of them should be in line to start this week against Northwestern State.
“I would say Jevante (Watson) is probably going to start on one side, Troy McCollum on the other,” Hudspeth said.
The Ragin’ Cajuns are trying to play more press man coverage this season, and while the team had mixed results against Kentucky, Watson and McCollum impressed Hudspeth in that area last week.
Watson started against Kentucky opposite junior college transfer Savion Brown, and outside of a pass interference call that was nullified when his man made a contested catch, performed well.
McCollum had a bigger impact though. He was also flagged for pass interference on a deep ball down the sideline, but he contributed two crucial pass breakups that caught Hudspeth’s eye.
“Troy made the two big plays in the endzone, one on the slant and one on the fade — I mean, couldn’t have played them any better,” Hudspeth said. “I’m really proud of the way this kid is developing.”
If McCollum does earn the starting nod, it would be his first in a Cajuns uniform.
Hudspeth also singled out Brown, who he said had a nice second half.
Riles, Briscoe update
Al Riles and Jacoby Briscoe, listed as questionable by Hudspeth at the beginning of the week, looked solid at practice Wednesday.
Riles left in the second quarter of the Kentucky game with a shoulder injury and had his arm in a sling during the second half.
“I think his shoulder is much improved. He’s made great progress with his treatment this week,” Hudspeth said. “He has a really good chance to go.”
Briscoe left in the third quarter with an ankle injury, and Hudspeth said he didn’t think he’d be ready to go until he saw him at Wednesday’s practice.
“He moved around much better,” Hudspeth said. “We didn’t think that he might be available this week, but after today ... I think there’s a chance he could play.”
A chance at playing time
Linebacker Darzil Washington’s shoulder injury, which Hudspeth said would sideline him three to six weeks, could open the door for true freshman defensive end Mario Osborne to see the field.
Osborne is a defensive end by trade, but Washington specializes in getting after the quarterback and Osborne may be able to help in that regard.
“Mario Osborne’s reps will increase,” Hudspeth said. “He’s a guy with a high motor, we’ve been high on him since camp. He will get better as he gets more playing time, but he can run and he’s long, too. We’ve just got to get him going in the right direction, and I think he’s going to be fine.
The Cajuns will also benefit from the return of Ladarrius Kidd, who was suspended for the opener for a violation of team rules.
Quarterback Brooks Haack is known for his arm, but he showed against Kentucky that he was capable of running with the ball if the situation presents itself — and with the defense not respecting his ability to run, the situation presented itself a couple times.
Haack kept the ball on a pair of read option plays, and had success on both, taking one for a 13-yard gain and a first down and the other for a 4-yard touchdown.
“When I’m in they think I’ll hand it off to Eli (McGuire) or (Torrey Pierce), and that just opens it up more for me if I do end up running it,” Haack said.