LAFAYETTE — Another day, another injury in the Louisiana-Lafayette offensive line.
But this time, redshirt freshman center Grant Horst is still expected to return to play Saturday when the Ragin’ Cajuns conclude spring drills with their annual spring game.
Horst, a product of Spanish Fort, Ala., who has worked as the starting center since the mid-point of spring practice, limped off during Thursday’s final full-scale practice session. However, Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth said that Horst was expected to be with the starting group for the wrapup scrimmage.
“Luckily, we think he’s going to be OK, got a scare for a moment, but we think he’s going to be back out there Saturday,” Hudspeth said. “We’re to the point right now that we just want to get all those guys to the first game.”
UL-Lafayette had previously lost four offensive linemen to spring injuries. Senior Terry Johnson, who started all 13 games at left guard last year, had worked at center at the start of spring but had already been shifted back to his familiar spot at left guard before ankle surgery two weeks ago.
That put Horst at center with a No. 1 group that included returning starters Daniel Quave at right guard, Mykhael Quave at left tackle and Octravian Anderson at right tackle. That group has remained healthy, but returning backups Jeremy Sparks (neck), Jarad Martin (foot) and Ethan Rosenbalm (foot) have all been out most or all of spring drills.
“We’re sort of bit right now by the injury bug with the offensive line,” Hudspeth said. “It’s that fine line of getting the right amount of work and keeping them healthy. We’ve got guys there (offensive line) that have started 26 or 39 straight college football games ... I really don’t have to see them go full speed in a spring game to know if they’re good or not.”
The revolving door at center has also affected starting quarterback Terrance Broadway’s spring preparation. Broadway, whose primary spring goal was to fully recover from the broken arm he suffered late in the 2013 season, took virtually every snap over the past two seasons from now-graduated center Andre Huval.
“Me and Terry (Johnson) had really gotten into a good groove,” Broadway said after Thursday’s practice. “When he got hurt, Grant (Horst) stepped up and we had gotten into a groove. It’s hard not to have that consistency.
“But it’s spring, and we have a chance to have everybody back healthy for the fall. That’s a positive that they’re all going to be back when we need them.”
The two kickers vying for UL-Lafayette’s starting placement duties, senior Hunter Stover and junior Stephen Brauchle, both had kicks at the end of practice-ending two-minute drills Thursday.
Stover nailed a 37-yarder at the end of the offense’s first drive. Brauchle misfired on a 37-yarder, but his was directly into a stiff wind.
Those two will be featured early in Saturday’s spring session.
Three for all
Saturday’s noon spring game is free to the public and will be the first part of a “Three-For-All” promotion that will incorporate UL-Lafayette’s 2 p.m. softball doubleheader against South Alabama and a 6 p.m. baseball contest against Arkansas-Little Rock.
Fans attending all three events will receive a prize and will be eligible to win a tailgating tent. The softball twinbill matches two nationally-ranked teams who sit atop the Sun Belt Conference standings, while the baseball game features a Cajun team ranked No. 1 nationally in this week’s Collegiate Baseball poll.
Schedule cards for the 2014 football season and a limited number of New Orleans Bowl commemorative posters will be available at the spring game. A kid’s zone will also be open during the game.
Activities at the other events include a kids’ Easter egg hunt at 1:30 p.. prior to the softball game at Lamson Park, and “Blue Jeans and BBQ Night” will be featured at Moore Field for Saturday’s baseball game.