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Fans will be allowed into Cajun Field this season without vaccinations or a COVID-19 test, it was announced by the UL athletic department Friday.

UL’s athletic department will not require fans to be vaccinated or produce a negative COVID-19 test in order to attend home game at Cajun Field this fall.

The department is recommending fans wear masks inside the stadium, as well as self-monitor for symptoms prior to attending any game.

There will also be hand sanitizer stations located throughout the facility and socially-distant seating will be available on the east side, on the hills and in the upper deck for fans not wishing to sit near others.

There were no announced restrictions to tailgating.

Other than those contingency plans, attending UL games will be very much like it was in 2019 prior to the pandemic.

“The Department of Athletics will follow the state and CDC policies and procedures and will make adjustments if necessary,” the department said in a release.

The No. 23-ranked Cajuns are scheduled to play their first of six home games on Sept. 11 against Nicholls, followed by a Thursday, Sept. 16 meeting with Ohio University.

Almendares steady

During the second half of the 2020 season, redshirt sophomore kicker Kenny Almendares slowly took over UL’s placekicking duties.

He wasn’t flashy, but showed consistency by making all five of his field goals with a long of 43 yards.

“Kenny is very talented,” UL coach Billy Napier said. “He’s a natural ball striker with a soccer background. He was very raw and underdeveloped when he first got here, but he has steadily improved from a technique and consistency standpoint.”

During camp in preparation for this season, Napier remains confident in Almendares.

“Kenny’s had a great offseason,” Napier added. “He had a really good spring practice and certainly a good summer. You can tell he’s in better shape, in better condition. So far, so good. He’s in position to have a great year for us this year.”

Marks remains versatile

By now, UL seventh-year super senior offensive guard Ken Marks is probably tired of the age jokes.

“We call him ‘Grandpaw’,” Napier said.

UL’s coaching staff certainly isn’t tired of Marks’ versatility.

“Ken is a versatile player,” Napier said. “He even flipped over and played some right tackle in training camp. I’m not so sure he couldn’t play all five positions. If you’d give him a couple days, he probably could go play center.

“He’s wise and certainly one of the guys I really respect. He’s got very good character, he’s intelligent, he’s a very good student and he’s a big-picture thinker. I’ve got a lot of respect for Ken and certainly we’re glad to have him back.”

Season closing in

Sure coaches love the offseason and August camp … the “process” has many of them call it.

But Napier admitted, his enthusiasm really begins to rise the closer it gets to game season. UL officially began preparation for the season opener against Texas on Thursday and Napier can feel it.

“Yeah, there’s no question,” he said Wednesday night. “I’m not going to need an alarm clock (Thursday). I can promise you that. It’s go time.”


Email Kevin Foote at kfoote@theadvocate.com.