LAFAYETTE — University of Louisiana football players struggled in practice Friday on the eve of a major scrimmage.

“We gave the guys a break and let them practice in partials today, because we thought that it would give them a little more energy, a little more enthusiasm, but the opposite happened,” ULL coach Mark Hudspeth said.

“We’ve had 10 good practices this spring until (Friday), so I’m not sure why we didn’t have the excitement that we normally do. I hope they were just saving their energy for tomorrow, because they are going to need it.”

ULL will have the second of two major scrimmages Saturday, a workout that will help determine the depth chart heading into fall camp. The team concludes spring drills April 20 with its spring game.

Saturday’s scrimmage, which will be closed to the public, will be the last time this spring the Cajuns will put their entire first and second units on the field. For the spring game, the offense and defense will be split into equal teams.

“Saturday is going to be the biggest day of the spring,” Hudspeth said. “It will be the best opportunity for players to get on the field this fall, even better than the spring game.

“I am sure that some positions will be won and lost and a couple of guys will gain an advantage heading into the fall. Everybody will be live, except (quarterback) Terrance Broadway, so that we can simulate a game as best as possible.”

At holder, sophomore Jake Guidry has appeared to claim the position left vacant by the graduation of Brady Thomas.

Guidry, who also serves as the backup long snapper, has been the steadiest of the holder candidates this spring, beating out the freshman quarterback trio of Jalen Nixon, Brooks Haack and D’Shaie Landor.

Northwestern State

NATCHITOCHES — Northwestern State reaches a milestone Saturday with its biggest scrimmage of spring football practice as new coach Jay Thomas will send the Demons through an anticipated 85-snap workout beginning at 9:40 a.m. in Turpin Stadium.

The scrimmage will have the No. 1 units squaring off over 45 plays and the No. 2s competing for 40 snaps.

The scrimmage will be the most extensive under Thomas before next Saturday’s 24th annual Joe Delaney Bowl spring game.

The competition will include a goal-line scrimmage and some fourth-down action as available, during series starting at various points on each side of the field.

“We’ll play it like a game as much as we can,” Thomas said. “We’ll look at some different combinations with personnel, get a good look at guys playing up to see how they handle themselves. We’ll see how it goes, and if we can, we sneak in a few more plays.”

McNeese State

COWBOYS TO FINISH SPRING PRACTICE: In Lake Charles, McNeese will cap its spring season Saturday with the playing of the annual Blue/Gold Spring game at 1 p.m.

Because of the number of players who will not dress out because of minor injuries, the event will stick with the same format as the first two scrimmages, with the offense going up against the defense instead of the squad split into two teams.

The scrimmage is expected to last about 100 plays with kickoff and punts included.

Leading the No. 1 offensive unit will be returning quarterback Cody Stroud.