LAFAYETTE — It might seem somewhat paradoxical that a talented and experienced University of Louisiana at Lafayette offensive unit would be undergoing identity changes as spring practices reach a conclusion at 4 p.m. Saturday at Cajun Field.
While the scrutiny for improvement has been focused on the defense all spring, new directions on offense will also be on display when the Cajuns end their third spring under coach Mark Hudspeth with the annual Red-White game.
ULL has been developing an offensive line that has two new starters.
Mykhael Quave has moved from a starting guard to left tackle, while Terry Johnson (left guard) and Octravian Anderson (right tackle) are the new starters.
Tight end Ian Thompson said in addition, the Cajuns are devising different roles at his position.
Quave said so far, he has welcomed the move.
“We’ve been working all spring on getting our chemistry together, so we can all jell and come together not as five individuals, but as one unit,” said Quave, who played tight end in high school.
Johnson is expected to play left guard alongside Quave, while the starting center is once again Andre Huval. Daniel Quave will still play right guard, while Anderson plays the right tackle position formerly occupied by three-year starter Jaron Odom,
Quave said moving to left tackle means he is primarily responsible for protecting quarterback Terrance Broadway.
“Left tackle for me is more my natural position. I was a 250-pound tight end back in high school and I think with my speed and footwork I can perform well at the left tackle.
“I understood that I had to play left guard for the team last year and I had to make the best of the opportunity that I had. Now my role is to take the blind side away from Broadway and make sure that he’s not feeling the pressure when he’s scrambling around,” Quave said.
Thompson and tight end Jacob Maxwell have been fixtures at tight end for the past two seasons.
Last year Thompson caught 16 passes for 119 yards. Thompson had 19 receptions for 185 and four touchdowns.
Thompson said he realizes much of the throwing emphasis involves the Cajuns’ talented group of outside receivers. The tight ends will also play prominent parts in the passing game.
“Last year we wanted to get the ball to our playmakers. This spring we have been spreading the ball around more. We (tight ends) will be more involved this season,” Thompson said.
The tight ends won’t necessarily line up as partners with the offensive linemen.
“We’re really going to be down in the dirt tight ends. We are going to be in the backfield more, lining up, going in motion, shifting around and not letting the defense know what we are going to do,” Thompson said.
Thompson said the offensive line has undergone changes that have been ongoing all spring.
“It’s definitely a change for them, but really those are our only new guys (offensively). They are the type of group that is ready to go to work every day. Terry’s a new starter, but he has really played a lot,” Thompson said.
While there will be different individuals doing the blocking, Thompson said it’s still a competent group.
“The offensive line is going to be just as good as last year. Mykahel (Quave) is so athletic for a guy that’s weighing 300 pounds.
“For a guy his size, he’s got such great feet. A lot of times we are in communication with our offensive line and combo blocking with them,” Thompson said.
Hudspeth has changed the team arrangements for the spring game.
Last year the assistant coaches and players drafted their teams, but Hudspeth said he decided to change that arrangement for Saturday’s contest.
The Cajuns’ starting offensive unit that includes Thompson will be paired with the second team defense.
ULL’s starting defense will join the second team offense.
Thompson prefers this composition for the Red and White game.
“I like to stay with the offense. That’s our guys and we are always in there together. It’s fun staying with the group you’re playing with.
“The spring game is really a big deal for us. Coaches are always evaluating, but they always put a lot of weight on the spring game. The difference is you also get to have a little fun in the spring game while the coaches are watching you,” said Thompson.
Vehicle parking for the spring game will be concentrated on the north side of Cajun Field.
ULL officials said the parking arrangement will help ease congestion near the athletic complex. Adjacent to the football stadium is action in the Sun Belt Conference tennis tournament and the ULL-Florida Atlantic baseball game.