Mother Nature forces ULL indoors
LAFAYETTE — After nine days of mostly blistering heat to start preseason camp for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns football team, Mother Nature impacted practice in a different way Wednesday.
A thunderstorm blew through campus early in the morning, and in its aftermath, a light rain fell throughout the practice, creating even more humid conditions than the Cajuns are used to for the first of two practices during the day.
The weather conditions moved the majority of practice into the Leon Moncla Indoor Practice Facility, which had a new playing surface added to it during the spring.
“With new field installed in the indoor, we don’t have to bow to the weather,” head football coach Mark Hudspeth said in a news release. “We still get the heat but not the weather, and the surface may be even better for our guys to practice on than the grass field.”
The Cajuns took time during the morning session to continue working on the new rules in place for the 2013 season.
One of the rules that the Cajuns worked on was the amplification of the targeting rule on tackling, which could result in an ejection of a player for hitting too high or hard or with his head down on a defenseless receiver.
“Football is a physical game,” Hudspeth said. “We want to play hard and tackle hard, but we have to use our heads because we can’t afford to lose a player for a half or a game because they made a bad decision on the field.
“We teach our guys to hit hard but don’t launch. Take the opponent down but be smart, especially on crossing patterns.”
The offense celebrated the end of practice knowing they did not have to complete the extra running during the conditioning period after winning the inaugural video football challenge the night before.
The offense opened up a 21-0 halftime lead and then held off a charge from the defense for a 28-14 victory.
“The offense took charge early, and by the time the defense tried to rally, it was too little too late,” Hudspeth said.
“It was a great atmosphere. We played the school fight song, and the guys were all cheering for their teams. When the offense scored on a 14-yard run, the place exploded.
“Jake Delhomme spoke to the team before the game. We are fortunate to have alumni like Jake who take their time to stay involved with the program,” Hudspeth added.
The barbs continued after the game.
“They never stood a chance” offensive co-head coach Mykhael Quave said. “We ran my plays, and we imposed our will on them. I think they gave up.”
Although Quave’s jabs at the defense were light-hearted, Hudspeth’s thoughts about Quave’s performance so far in camp were complimentary of the redshirt sophomore.
“Mykhael is quickly turning into one of the leaders on the offensive line,” Hudspeth said. “He has taken the move from guard to tackle in stride and is competing at the highest of levels.”
Hudspeth also liked the performance of redshirt freshman Jared Johnson, who is among a handful of receivers vying for playing time.
“Jared is getting better and better every day,” Hudspeth said. “He can be a big part in our game plan this year. He has great size and ball skills and is improving his route running.”