Cajuns tight end Larry Pettis having ‘phenomenal camp’ _lowres

Advocate Photo by BRAD KEMP Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth watch the first fall scrimmage for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette at Cajun Field on Saturday in Lafayette.

Even though Larry Pettis is part of a balancing act, the performance of the Louisiana-Lafayette offense at Thursday’s practice kept him feeling like he is consistently on solid ground.

Pettis enters the final days of fall camp as the squad’s clear No. 1 option at tight end. The senior from Oxford, Mississippi, has established himself in that role thanks to his efforts during camp. “Larry Pettis has had a phenomenal camp,” coach Mark Hudspeth said. “That guy is our guy. He makes all the plays.”

One element Pettis credits for helping him be a playmaker is the diversity within the Cajuns offense that features two top rushers in Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire, who combined for 1,800 yards last season. “Our offense is so balanced that no one knows what is coming,” Pettis said. “I’m excited to be on the field. Sometimes it is as a receiver. Sometimes, I have to block down so (McGuire) and (Harris) can get outside.”

Communication is also critical. “We have our own language,” Pettis said. “As receivers, we can communicate through each other and also through the quarterback. Everybody has to know their roles.”

An icy summer day

A handful of Cajuns coaches took part in the Ice Bucket Challenge following practice. The nationwide effort is designed to raise public awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) — also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Participants challenge each other to dump ice water on themselves — or make a donation to fight ALS within 24 hours if they would rather bypass the icy fate.

Former Louisiana-Lafayette defensive back Orlando Thomas is one person who has been affected by ALS on a long-term basis.

“I challenged (assistant coach) Mitch Rodrigue,” Hudspeth said. “He challenged (offensive coordinator) Jay Johnson and Jay challenged (assistant coach) Dave Saunders. About four coaches did the Ice Bucket Challenge today. If you look at the people who have been affected and touched by ALS, it’s very important that we give back and create funds and revenue so we can attack that disease and find a cure.”

Rest vs. being ready

One challenge the Cajuns coaches face as camp winds down before the season opener is maintaining a good balance between providing players necessary rest and recovery time and keeping them sharp. “At this time in camp, we are just trying to make sure we get our guys to that first game,” Hudspeth said. “We counted some guys that could probably go (Thursday), but then you run the risk of an injury where they are out for a while. So we are making sure guys are back at full speed.”

Quick read

Three observations from Thursday’s practice.

1. Senior wide receiver Jamal Robinson was back at full speed after dealing with some hamstring soreness.

2. Defensive back Corey Trim broke up a deep ball down the left sideline intended for Robinson.

3. Marquise White had a pass deflection on a ball over the middle from quarterback Terrance Broadway.

Brian Hudgins