Following a 47-3 loss to Arkansas State on Oct. 19, coach Mark Hudspeth had a single, clear message for his Louisiana-Lafayette ball club.
Hudspeth knows the Cajuns (3-4 overall, 2-2 Sun Belt) can’t afford to let the loss linger.
“We have to put this game behind us," he said. "We can’t allow this team to beat us twice.
"For us, we have to stay the course, sort of adjust the sails but stay the course. Our kids believe that, and they’re ready to get back to work.”
After taking last weekend off, the Cajuns returned to practice for three days of drills, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Wednesday’s work included a 30-play live session, something usually not seen during the regular season but with a 16-day layoff between games, Hudspeth said it was needed to keep his club sharp as the Cajuns prepare for a Nov. 4 contest at South Alabama.
Following the work, Hudspeth walked away pleased with the way his team responded.
“All the veterans, everybody went,” Hudspeth said, “Full-speed tackle. I thought we played hard, thought we did a pretty good job.”
A major question coming out of the Arkansas State loss revolved around the quarterback play and who the Cajuns will go with for the remaining five games on the schedule?
Both Andre Nunez, who started the Arkansas State game, and Jordan Davis suffered injuries in the contest. Davis re-injured a knee that has bothered him since injuring it at Texas A&M earlier in the season, while Nunez exited with a head injury.
Nunez was one of four Cajuns to exit with head injuries along with receiver Ryheem Malone, linebacker Chaiziere Malbrue and cornerback Levarious Varnado. They were all all held out of practice this week, but Hudspeth does expect all four to be back when the Cajuns return to practice Sunday evening.
With Nunez unable to go, Davis took all of the first-team snaps, and Hudspeth said he liked what he saw from the junior signal-caller.
“(Jordan) has had a really good week at practice, and if he continues practicing the way he's practicing right now, he's sort of looking like he did earlier in the year,” Hudspeth said. “I think he's starting to get some of his confidence back. He was very confident and looking sharp until the injury. It just seems like that injury set him back and right now he looks like his old self, at least moving around.”
While it seems the Cajuns could see a change at the quarterback position, if there is a change that’s the only change Hudspeth expects to see this late into the season.
“We’re to the point that our players are where they’re going to be," he said. "We’re not pulling anyone’s redshirts or things like that. We have to get better, there’s some things that we did, you take away the two interceptions and that’s a different ball game.
"We have to control the things we can control before we control the opponents, and the things we can control is taking care of the ball, making good decisions, playing good fundamentals and being in good position, if we can control those things we’ll be much better off.”