LAFAYETTE — University of Louisiana at Lafayette kicker Stephen Brauchle unexpectedly announced Tuesday he would be transferring from the football program, leaving a void in the spot he filled all spring and summer.
Ragin’ Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth said Hunter Stover, who battled with Brauchle for the starting spot, will handle the kicking duties for the season.
“We wish Stephen well in the future,” Hudspeth said. “This is just like you’re starting quarterback going down. The backups were not getting the reps they need, but now Hunter will be getting the reps Stephen got. And hopefully, those increased reps will get him better as the season goes along.”
Hudpseth said Carlos Alvarez will move into the backup kicker role and freshman Dylan Scheurich will be the Cajuns’ No. 3 kicker. Hudspeth said both guys have a little work to do to get themselves ready to be called on.
“They’re not very ready right now,” Hudpseth said. “I am not saying they can’t be ready, I think they would be really serviceable right now with kickoffs, and I’d feel comfortable with those guys kicking off, but they just haven’t had that much work kicking field goals.”
Hudpseth said Stover’s workload will remain the same, but he said more attention will be paid to keeping him healthy.
“He isn’t punting like Brett Baer was a couple years ago,” Hudspeth said. “Baer did it all. (Stover) is kicking off and kicking field goals. I think he’ll be fine.
“The concern is now that Hunter thinks of himself as a missile on kickoffs. He is going to need to stay healthy.”
2 million reasons for success
The Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation announced Monday that it had surpassed the $2 million donation mark for the first time. Hudspeth commended the community on its fund-raising efforts and said with continued growth, great things are ahead for the Ragin’ Cajuns athletic department.
“What a feat, not just for our athletic department but for our community, our alumni and our fans,” Hudspeth said. “They have reached out and supported our athletic program. You can see the success our entire athletic program has had this past year. We are really appreciative to our community and our fans.”
Hudspeth acknowledged his awareness of some friendly rivalries that may arise from playing a school just 45 miles away. He said he has taken an active approach to keeping the team focused on the game.
“We are playing an in-state opponent,” Hudspeth said. “Some of these guys may have been teammates or relatives with our players. There are a lot of relationships on both sides. We don’t want to get into a lot of trash talk and social media talk. We’ve got a job to do.”
Hudspeth said he wants his team to be excited, but doesn’t want to get caught in the commotion of playing Southern for the first time since a record-breaking crowd watched the Cajuns defeat the Jaguars at Cajun Field in 2009.
“We don’t want to fall into that trap of distraction with too many people thinking they can get to our players,” Hudspeth said. “We want them in the mind frame that we need to execute and we need to control the attitude and play between the whistles. I think they will play the way the practice and they are practicing well.”