Most fans and media focus on the final statistical line when judging a quarterback.
And while that tells a great deal of the story in grading a quarterback’s performance in a game, it certainly doesn’t tell the entire story.
Take the job Levi Lewis did during UL’s 27-20 homecoming win over Arkansas State last Saturday.
Officially, he was 17-of-29 passing for 244 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His offense didn’t score any points in the first half and had to overcome a late drive by the visiting Red Wolves to survive.
In other words, that stat line doesn’t illustrate the many good decisions he made to secure the win.
“I think in general it was tough out there Saturday, and he didn’t lose the game,” UL coach Billy Napier said. “He kept it under control. We did turn it over once. What we asked him to do in the game, he did it.”
One thing no longer hidden about Lewis is his plan to return to the Cajuns next season.
"It's a good thing," Lewis said Wednesday. "We've got guys that's talking about coming back, they're really thinking about it. It says a lot. We've got a young football team. It's going to be good for the program, good for the fans — wanting them to come to the games knowing that some of the star players are coming back. It's going to be good overall for the program."
The other thing hidden from outsiders is UL's desire to limit Lewis' running attempts. On Saturday, he had three carries for 26 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown run.
“We talk about it quite a bit,” Napier said. “We run quite a few read plays when teams choose to not let him run it. We’ve gotten in the draw game a little more. A lot of these plays, the defense dictates where the ball goes.
“When they have let him run it, he’s been pretty dynamic. I think about it quite a bit. I think you have to pick your spots because of the importance of the quarterback in the system. That guy’s health is critical.”
Daily COVID battle
With COVID-19 issues canceling college football games across the country, highlighted by four in the SEC this weekend, the daily battle against the coronavirus is not lost on the Ragin’ Cajuns.
TCajuns had a rough stretch in Weeks 2 and 3, with as many as nine starters out against Georgia Southern, and it left an impression.
“It made everybody realize they’re not playing, the NCAA is not playing,” redshirt sophomore running back Chris Smith said. “If we get COVID, we’re out those 10 days — almost two weeks — and that’s really hard to come back from. You’re not doing any activity, and that’s wearing on your body.”
Of late it’s been smooth sailing, but Napier hopes that doesn’t mean his team lets its guard down.
“It’s not going away,” Napier said. “That’s the big thing I’ve tried to sell. I know it’s been going well as of late for us, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still out there.
“It’s ‘an invisible enemy’ that we’ve got to have awareness, and it’s got to be on the top of the our minds all the time. It comes down to self-discipline.”
Don’t forget Wilkerson
There are many players that will reap the benefit of this year not counting against eligibility. UL sophomore defensive lineman Kendall Wilkerson will be near the top of that list.
After a promising freshman season, Wilkerson suffered injuries in an offseason accident, limiting his playing time and production this season.
But there are still moments in practice that remind the coaches why they were so fired up about signing him.
“Kendall was on scout defense (last week), and he was hard to block,” Napier said. “He was giving us fits over there. We all know Kendall and what he’s capable of. I still think Kendall’s a young player. He’s still learning the game. He’s still developing fundamentally.”
The 6-5, 250-pound Kentwood High product has appeared in two games without recording any statistics.
“Certainly the offseason injury set him back form a physical standpoint, but he’s healthy,” Napier added. “His leg is healthy and his wrist is healthy, and he’s been able to contribute. Hopefully, Kendall will learn more of the defense and become a more dependable, consistent player.
“But he is a long, twitchy, disruptive player. He’s had a great attitude. He’s worked really hard to get back, and we hope he continues to improve and get better so he can play more.”
Napier said Wednesday his Cajuns will wear all-black uniforms Saturday in honor of Military Appreciation Day.
"I think sometimes in society we have heroes that maybe are athletes or movie stars or millionaires," he said. "But in reality, these people (military) that do an incredible service for our country are real-life heroes. There's nothing higher in my opinion — no one has ever done more good than these people do. It takes a special kind of person. It takes sacrifice. It takes bravery."