LAFAYETTE — After a nearly two-week hiatus, the Louisiana-Lafayette football team was back on the practice field Tuesday for its ninth workout of the spring — and there were a couple of significant changes.
Jalen Nixon, who started three games at quarterback last season but was moved to running back earlier this spring, was back at quarterback. Coach Mark Hudspeth said he made the move to get Nixon some much-needed reps.
“He’s not ready to play running back yet because of (a foot injury) — it takes a pounding inside — and so we’re just getting him some reps at quarterback and seeing if he can run this system if we need him,” Hudspeth said.
Hudspeth didn’t rule out Nixon getting playing time elsewhere by the time the season rolls around.
“We’re still trying to find a role for him, weather that’s running back, quarterback — we’ve even talked about defensively,” he said. “We’re just trying to find the right role for him.”
Tuesday also was the first time running back Elijah McGuire was available to participate in spring drills. He missed the first eight practices while the basketball team completed its season. McGuire joined the hoops team in January, seeing time as a reserve guard.
McGuire said he was happy to be on the football field again, but he said being back at practice was a little weird.
“It felt like I was an incoming freshman again, trying to learn the new offense,” he said. “I’m picking it up really fast, but I’m just happy to be out here.”
Getting back in the swing of things during the spring may be a crucial part of preparation for McGuire as he gears up for his senior campaign. McGuire did not participate in any spring drills last year while recovering from shoulder surgery, and he felt that missed time may have played a role in a 2015 season that opened with extremely high expectations.
“Going into last spring, I wanted to work on my craft, picking up blitz protections and learning the schemes of the offense,” he said. “I felt last year set me back, so I’m putting in extra work, giving 110 percent.”
Tuesday might have been felt unusual for McGuire, but Hudspeth was giddy to have his star back.
“He looked really good,” he said. “We didn’t ask him to do an awful lot on the first day. We will sort of ease him into it.”
NOTES: Receiver Jared Johnson, who is working his way back from a torn ACL, participated for the first time in a limited contact capacity. ... Defensive back Simeon Thomas was not dressed out and did not participate in drills.