Cajuns respond well after day off _lowres

Advocate file photo by LEE CELANO -- UL-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth surveys the scene during a spring practice session in March. Hudspeth said his team got 'sort of back on track' at practice Wednesday.

LAFAYETTE — After facing the grind of the first week of fall camp, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette football squad stared down a different challenge Friday: being ready to roll after a day off.

“We came out today with the mentality that we were going to push through it (the heat), and we did,” Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth said. “The kids came out and really attacked it. It was really hot — especially the last hour. I thought we had one of our most spirited practices of the year. We fought through it, and we are staring to see we are getting into football shape.”

As the Cajuns worked through individual drills, scheme installations and team drills, the defense continued to take a more defined shape on strengths and weaknesses.

“When we went back and looked at the scrimmage, we were able to see who we are going to be,” Hudspeth said. “It will depend on situations. We have the ability to play man (to-man) defense. We have developed some really good man corners and safeties, but we are not just going to be a man team. Hopefully, we can give teams a lot of different looks and keep them off balance.”

Crash course continues

A handful of freshmen wide receivers are working their way into drills against first-team defensive backs. That includes Keenan Barnes and Gary Haynes.

“They have got to be able to compete against the older guys,” Hudspeth said. “We are starting to bleed them in a little bit with the ones to see how they can do against a senior defensive back compared to a freshman or sophomore. They will start to get a few more reps.”

Part of that process for the freshmen wideouts is making sure the ball is secure during game situations.

“Every freshman has to learn to carry the ball properly,” Hudspeth said. “That is a huge part of what we do (with them). They don’t play unless they can take care of the ball.”

Harris has big night

When former Ragin’ Cajuns running back Alonzo Harris reached the end zone on a 25-yard run in preseason NFL action for the Green Bay Packers Thursday night against the New England Patriots, Hudspeth went from coach to fan mode.

“I was really proud of Alonzo,” Hudspeth said. “That was great. I got to see it when it happened. I thought he had a couple of good runs before that touchdown. It looked just like Alonzo Harris on that first inside zone (play) that he popped for about nine yards. Then he bounced it (outside) for a touchdown. I thought (Christian) Ringo played well (for the Packers), and Jacob Maxwell had a tackle for Detroit on the punt team. They put in a lot of hard work, and that’s why they are successful. They went up there and kept that same mentality that they hopefully got from our program.”

Patio suites available

Louisiana-Lafayette is offering two outdoor patio suites at Cajun Field that can be rented out to large groups and corporations on a game-by-game basis.

A 35-person patio suite is available for $2,500 per game, and a 70-person party suite is available for $4,000. Game tickets for both suites are included in the single-game rate. Both suites will feature a dedicated wait staff that will provide in-seat service for food and drinks.

Suites will also feature complimentary popcorn, water, soft drinks and copies of GEAUX — the official gameday program for Ragin’ Cajuns football.

For more information, or to reserve a patio suite, please contact Rob Stewart at (337) 482-1058 or

The Louisiana-Lafayette sports information department contributed to this report