The Ragin’ Cajuns have been installing their game plan for Saturday’s contest against Southern for the better part of two weeks, but for all they know it might all get thrown out the window.
The Jaguars are coming to town with a new quarterback in redshirt freshman Deonte Shorts, meaning any game film the Cajuns have might mean zilch by the time kickoff arrives.
“What are they doing?” Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth asked. “Are they putting in a bunch of new wrinkles because they’ve got a new quarterback? Because all we can go on is what they did last year and the film we’ve got on their current staff.
“If they changed some stuff or tweaked some things, then we’re going to have to be able to make corrections and adjustments throughout the game.”
Though the Cajuns haven’t been able to scout Shorts on film, they have a good grasp of the type of athlete he is. They’ve been using quarterback Jalen Nixon, who is suspended for the year for a violation of team rules, as the scout team version of Shorts.
And while the game plan might shift depending on how the Jaguars use Shorts, Hudspeth said the key to stopping a young quarterback always remains the same. And if the Cajuns can do that without giving away some of their more exotic packages, even better.
“For us, we’re always going to try to stop the run first,” Hudspeth said. “In college football, you always have to stop the run and control the pass. Hopefully we can do that with our front and not have to rely on a lot of other people in the box, or maybe pressures and things like that. We’d like to try to do that in our base looks.”
It doesn’t appear that kicker Hunter Stover is going to let pressure of being “the guy” get to him after his main competition, Stephen Brauchle, announced he was leaving the program Tuesday.
“Competition always makes you better, but I think the last two days (Stover has) kicked the ball really well,” Hudspeth said.
Hudspeth said his main concern isn’t with Stover, but with Stover’s backups. Carlos Alvarez and Dylan Shreurich are both untested, especially in game situations.
“I’m not confident in either one of those guys yet, they’ve got some work to do,” Hudspeth said. “They weren’t getting many kicks because we had a first- and second-team kicker. They were just kicking in practice and never got any live work.”
Hudspeth said starting left tackle Mykhael Quave was practicing without the cast he’d been wearing for the past week and a half after he suffered a minor fracture in camp a few weeks ago.
Quave had been practicing with the cast, but Hudspeth never thought he’d miss time.
“Don’t know, but we will find out in about three days. That is the million dollar question. I hope they are, we worked them hard, I don’t know if we could’ve ran them much more than we did to have their legs to play on Saturday. You can run them so much, and they may be a little bit in shape, but they’re so leg weary they feel like they’re running in mud.” -- Hudspeth when asked if his team was in game shape.