LAFAYETTE — For at least one more week, Louisiana-Lafayette will hold out on naming a starting quarterback before kickoff.
“We know what we’re doing (at starter), but just for the sake of (Texas State) not knowing, just so they don’t throw a last-minute plan together, we need every advantage that we can get,” coach Mark Hudspeth said.
But that could change after this week.
“As long as he produces, whoever it is ... as long as we score points, we’re going to roll with him,” Hudspeth said. “If we don’t, Plan B.”
Quarterback Jalen Nixon had to leave the Louisiana Tech game early after taking a big hit in the fourth quarter, but all indications are that he’ll be ready to go Saturday against Texas State.
“I just landed awkwardly,” Nixon said. “I’d already sprained it in a recent game, so when I landed shoulder first into the turf, of course it was going to aggravate it. That’s all that happened. Days after that I feel much better. I’m taking my treatment and rehab serious. I’ll be good.”
This is his fourth year on campus, and he’s seen plenty of playing time, but the Louisiana Tech game was the first start of Nixon’s career. He had an up-and-down performance that included 161 passing yards and 54 rushing yards to go along with scores on the ground and through the air.
Brooks Haack started the first three games, but Hudspeth said after the Louisiana Tech game that he may not have seen any playing time if Nixon hadn’t been forced to leave the game.
Junior defensive back Troy McCollum, who has started the past three games, will not play against Texas State, Hudspeth said Thursday.
McCollum was spotted in a walking boot Thursday night during practice, but Hudspeth said he shouldn’t miss any games beyond Saturday.
“It’s a compression boot ... just trying to get more swelling out,” Hudspeth said. “He might even be able to limp through, but I don’t think he’d be effective. Going to hold him out and have him 100 percent for Arkansas State.”
Junior Savion Brown will start in his place, with Jeryl Brazil and Dominick Jones serving as the top backups. Hudspeth also said Jones would serve as the top backup at safety as well.
After a couple weeks held mostly in check in the passing game, Elijah McGuire busted out a season high six catches for 70 yards against Louisiana Tech last week.
It was the result of an effort on the Cajuns part to get McGuire in space, where his skills can really shine, as he showed on a 49-yard catch and run for a touchdown on the offense’s first possession.
“If you get a one-on-one matchup with a linebacker, you’ll take that all day. ... You’ve just got to make him miss, get on the second level and try to make something happen,” McGuire said.
It’s been a little more difficult for the Cajuns to get McGuire the ball in the passing game this season after he led the team with 45 catches a year ago.
“When the team is scheming on you, there’s nothing you can do but play the game,” McGuire said. “Be patient about it, don’t rush anything, when you rush something that’s how bad things happen. Stay patient, let the game come to you, you’ll have great results.”
Numbers can lie
Four games into linebacker Otha Peters’ stay at UL-Lafayette, his numbers suggest he’s not making much of an impact. He’s averaging just three tackles per game and has only recorded five solo tackles.
But numbers can be deceiving.
“I’ve been really pleased with Otha,” Hudspeth said. He’s been locked in, doing the right things, getting better. ... He’s been out of ball for a while.”
The last in-game action Peters had before the season opener against Kentucky came during an injury-plagued 2013 season with Arkansas.
The numbers will come eventually, Hudspeth said. Right now he’s happy with the way Peters has been where he’s supposed to be.
“Sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw and whether the ball comes your way,” Hudspeth said. “A lot of times you can make a great play just by taking your gap and doing your job and turning the ball into somebody else.”
Homecoming ... sort of
Texas State defensive backs coach Ashley Ambrose should be a familiar name for some Cajuns fans.
Ambrose, a New Orleans native, finished his 13-year NFL playing career with the New Orleans Saints in 2004. He played three seasons with the Saints (including a one-year stint in 1999), intercepting 12 passes. Ambrose went to one Pro Bowl and finished his career with 42 interceptions.
After defensive coordinator John Thompson stepped down, Ambrose assumed a role coaching the entire defensive secondary. Previously he only coached cornerbacks.