Report: Sun Belt becomes last FBS conference to adopt championship game _lowres

Advocate Photo by BRAD KEMP -- Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns linebacker Tre'maine Lightfoot (4) and defensive back Savion Brown (6) tackle Appalachian State Mountaineers wide receiver Shaedon Meadors during their game Nov. 28, 2015, at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, N.C.

LAFAYETTE — Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth isn’t quite sure where senior defensive back Savion Brown will line up this fall, but he’s glad he has options.

Brown has spent much of his spring working at safety after earning second-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors at cornerback last season. The new position seems to suit Brown’s 6-foot-2, 218-pound frame.

But earlier this week, Brown was back taking practice snaps at cornerback. Is the safety experiment over?

“We put him at safety this spring because he’s a big guy that can tackle,” Hudspeth said.

“We know he can play corner. Based on how the other guys come in this summer and how they do in the fall during camp will probably determine where he goes. We think he can play either one though.”

The Cajuns signing class this year was loaded with defensive backs. Of the 22 players they signed, six play defensive back, including a pair of junior college prospects in Artez Williams and Denarius Howard.

That group will join a defensive backfield that’s high on numbers (18 defensive backs on the current roster) but low on experience (four got significant playing time last season).

The Cajuns know that as long as he is finally eligible, Simeon Thomas will lock down one corner spot. But the rest of the backfield is wide open and may look much different in the fall than it currently does.

Which is why Brown is rotating between safety and corner; the Cajuns want him ready for either position.

“We feel good about him at corner,” Hudspeth said. “We wanted to let it sort of be a trial run at safety because it gives us another big guy on the field that can tackle.”

The Cajuns only had five interceptions as a team last season, but three of them were by Brown. He returned one of those for an 85-yard score against South Alabama.

Brown also made 42 tackles and 2½ tackles for loss last season.

Dress rehearsal

Never one to ignore details, Hudspeth used a part of Thursday’s practice to make sure his players knew exactly what to do at all times during Saturday’s spring game.

That includes the national anthem.

Hudspeth lined up he team on either sideline facing the flag with their helmets in their left arm — a stance they will take during the anthem Saturday. Included in the instructions were reminders not to slouch and to remember where they were standing.

Fire that football

Then the coach went through the quarterback competition that will happen on the field during halftime. There was a little more action for this, though.

Each quarterback got a chance to participate in the competition, which requires quarterbacks to throw nine passes from varying distances at a moving golf cart, at the end of Thursday’s practice.

Redshirt freshman Dion Ray tallied the highest score, earning himself a chance to compete against some of the best quarterbacks in school history, including Jake Delhomme and Brian Mitchell.

Once they were all through, Hudspeth, a former collegiate quarterback himself, stepped up and participated, firing footballs at a moving golf cart. He was not pleased with his own effort.

“I threw a couple the other day in practice and I was feeling pretty good,” Hudspeth said.

“I didn’t plan to do that until the last second — like, ‘Man, these guys, I can do better than that.’ I’ll tell you I’ve got a little more respect for them after that drill because I did not fare very well. Luckily I won’t be in that competition on Saturday.”