Photos: Cajuns beat Northwestern State 44-17 _lowres

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- UL-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth pumps up the crowd as the Ragin' Cajuns take on Northwestern State on Sept. 12.

LAFAYETTE — After missing all of preseason practice and the first two weeks of the season with a strained back, Louisiana-Lafayette kicker Dylan Scheurich made his way back to the practice field this week.

“He’s back ... I’m glad to see him back, because he was kicking the ball really well in the spring,” coach Mark Hudspeth said.

Thanks to that impressive spring, Scheurich was expected to compete with true freshman Stevie Artigue for the starting kicker position, but the injury made him unable to compete.

With the way Artigue has performed so far this season — 2-for-2 on field goals and 7-for-8 on extra points — Hudspeth doesn’t foresee Scheurich prying the job away from Artigue. At least not for now.

“I wouldn’t think so,” Hudspeth said. “It’s still early. We’ll see how he does. Right now, Stevie’s our No. 1 kicker, and Stevie’s doing a great job. ...

“Dylan’s going to get an opportunity to show what he can do in practice. ... You never know, you’ve got to keep somebody ready.”

Hudspeth was especially impressed by how cool Artigue stayed under pressure in his Cajuns debut. Artigue drilled his lone field goal attempt and made both extra point attempts in front of a sellout crowd at Kentucky.

“In front of 65,000? I thought he handled it well,” Hudspeth said.

Fly Cajun Air

The Cajuns are taking advantage of their early open date to get some recruiting in, and they’re doing it in style.

Hudspeth posted a picture to his Twitter account (@ULCoachHud) standing next to offensive coordinator Jay Johnson in front of a helicopter. The corresponding text read, “This is how @ULRaginCajuns recruit! #gettherefast”

Judging by the picture, it appeared Hudspeth and Johnson took off from the Cajuns practice field.

Not forcing the issue

One cause for concern for the Cajuns defense is the fact that they’ve only forced one turnover in two games. It came on an underthrown pass and was intercepted by safety Tracy Walker.

The Cajuns are also one of two Sun Belt teams who did not have a forced fumble going into Saturday’s action.

It’s a concern, but Hudspeth is willing to be as patient as possible. His team just needs to put itself in a better position to force turnovers.

“You can’t get a turnover unless you attempt to cause a turnover,” Hudspeth said. “We’ve got to get more attempts in the game. If you’re not getting many attempts, the odds of you getting a turnover are minimal.

“If you get a lot of strip attempts, your chances of one popping out are more.”

Hudspeth is hoping to avoid a year like last year, when the Cajuns only had one takeaway through the first five games.

“Last year, we didn’t get many in the first half of the season, then in the second half they were coming in buckets,” Hudspeth said.

The difference between the first and second halves of the season last yera? Nothing, at least not in the way the Cajuns approached practice or games.

“It’s just sort of the way the game worked out,” Hudspeth said. “We need it to work out in our favor a little bit more in the future.”