Renewed spirits, new coordinators have hopes high for Ragin’ Cajuns entering 2017 campaign
The 2017 football Season for UL Lafayette starts with the Southeastern Lions on September 2, when the Ragin’ Cajuns will kick off a season with high hopes under seventh-year head coach Mark Hudspeth.
After recent turmoil with the NCAA< Coach Hud and the University are working to put the recent sanctions behind them. The team took a step in that direction in 2016, returning to the New Orleans Bowl thanks to a strong finish before losing to Southern Miss at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome back in December.
It’s August now, and many questions loom for the four-tiime New Orleans Bowl winners on the field (two victories were vacated due the the sanctions).
Notably, who will fill the void at quarterback?
After having a solid leader at that position going back all the way to former Lutcher High star Blaine Gauthier, Captiol-Baton Rouge’s Terrance Broadway and most recently LSU transfer Anthony Jennings.
The starting role falls to Jordan Davis, a junior from Spring, Texas, who only played in seven games in 2016. He appears ready to be the man for this team.
“My main focus is to be consistent and execute in a positive way throughout the offense,” Davis said at Cajuns Football Media Day. “It’s a daily reminder to myself to push the offense in the most positive way that I can.”
In addition to having a new signal caller, the Cajuns will be under the direction of first year Offensive Coordinator Will Hall. Davis has the tools to lead this team to another successful season, Hall believes. The former West Georgia head coach for three seasons thinks it was meant to be for he and Davis to work together.
“I felt that I was meant to coach him, and he was meant to play for me,” said Davis.
For Hudspeth, having a cohesive OC-QB combination ill hopefully lead to more points on the scoreboard. Hudspeth’s praise the new system since Hall came aboard during the 2017 off-season has been consistent.
“The same type systematics (are in place), as we are still a no-huddle team, but it is a completely different offensive scheme, offensive philosophy, terminology than what we’ve done in the past,” explained Hudspeth.
When the Cajuns play their opener, it will include an interesting story line. Former Lions Head Coach Mike Lucas will be going up against his old team. Lucas enters his third year with the Cajuns but his first as the Defensive Coordinator.
Davis must find some key players to replace Covington’s Otha Peters, an Arkansas transfer who graduated last season.
Lucas has identified two players to fill the void that Peters left behind.
“I think the guy in the defensive room, right now, that’s taken that personality is Tracy Walker. Doing the things that Otha did, like standing up in front of the room and beating his chest. I think T.J. Posey has been very vocal. He’s a vocal guy, and knows how to press the right buttons at the right time. He is vocal, but different than what Otha was,” Lucas noted with passion for his emerging leaders.
The new look Cajuns defense is using the fall camp to come together and build chemistry in order to start the season on a good note. UL will need all the wins they can get when available with two SEC opponents (Texas A&M, Sept. 16) and (Ole Miss, Nov. 11) lurking on the schedule along with a competitive Sun Belt Conference slate.
The schedule includes home games versus ULM (Sept. 23), Texas State (Oct. 12), New Mexico State (Nov. 18) and Georgia Southern (Nov. 25).
A good start and continued improvement are goals for any football team through the course of a season, and it holds especially true for the Cajuns in 2017.
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George Faust has been Sports Director at KLFY since June of 2005, and in sports in Lafayette since 2003. Before joining News 10, he worked at KPLC-TV station in Lake Charles, LA. George also worked in Meridian, MS at WMDN-TV, and in Columbus, MS at WCBI-TV. He anchors the award winning High School Football Show: 1st and Ten, and Louisiana…