LAFAYETTE — UL-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth, master of the colloquialism, had his key phrase ready when he was asked about the Ragin’ Cajuns’ 11:30 a.m. kickoff time Saturday.
“By then, the hay is pretty much in the barn,” Hudspeth said.
Translated: The team has done all the necessary preparation for the game, and the less time to dwell on it, the better — for coaches, anyway.
“You get an early wakeup, early pregame,” Hudspeth said. “It’s a little different schedule. But as coaches, we don’t have to sit around until 6 or 7 at night dissecting everything all over again in our heads and wondering about every little detail one more time. Let’s wake up and kick that thing off. That’s what we all like to do.”
He can understand if his players don’t share his sentiments, though. Rising before the sun doesn’t always fit the lifestyle of a college student.
“I’m sure they’re probably not as big a fan of the early kickoffs as the coaches,” Hudspeth said. “I’d probably be the same way if I was a player. Not a lot of people probably want to eat a pregame meal at 6 or 7 a.m.”
It’ll be the Cajuns’ earliest start time of the season and their first before noon. But considering the likelihood that the team will participate in its fourth consecutive New Orleans Bowl, which kicks off at 10 a.m., the extra preparation probably can’t hurt.
Plus, players said, getting up early won’t bother them nearly as much as last week’s loss to Appalachian State does.
“The coaches do a pretty good job of getting us prepared,” senior tight end Larry Pettis said. “It’s an 11:30 kickoff, but after coming off a loss like last week, we’re going to come out guns blazing.”
Junior linebacker T.J. Worthy will not be available for this weekend’s game after suffering what Hudspeth called a “lower leg” injury against Appalachian State. Dominique Tovell will shift back to the outside linebacker position in Worthy’s place after starting the last seven games in the middle.
Taking Tovell’s spot in the middle will likely be true freshman T.J. Posey.
Hudspeth also said cornerback Troy McCollum could get some reps in Worthy’s place. Worthy started the season as a safety, and was serving as a sort of cross between a linebacker and defensive back in the Cajuns’ scheme.
Senior running back Alonzo Harris dislocated a finger against Appalachian State last week, but he got it reset and returned to the game. Harris was a full participant at Tuesday’s practice.
Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Roderick Stevens is done for the season with a lower leg injury, Hudspeth said.
The man they call “Hit Stick” is living up to his nickname.
Hudspeth was pleased with the play of true freshman defensive back Travis Crawford, who set a career high in tackles with nine. Crawford also delivered a big blow on Appalachian State running back Marcus Cox to force a fumble, which the Cajuns recovered.
“Travis Crawford was our defensive player of the game. ... He was all over the field, did a nice job,” Hudspeth said.
The nickname is a reference to the Madden series of NFL video games, in which a player can direct the gamer he controls to go for a big hit.