Aug 19, 2014 10:17 PM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE - At the end of Tuesday's afternoon practice in the Moncla Indoor Practice Facility, Louisiana head football coach Mark Hudspeth called on senior defensive tackle Justin Hamilton to fire up his teammates.
But there was a catch. If Hamilton could fire up the entire team in a post-practice celebration, the Ragin' Cajuns would get a much deserved day off on Wednesday.
With afternoon rains forcing the team inside, the Ragin' Cajuns worked out in full gear for over two hours in preparation for its Aug. 30 season opener at Cajun Field against in-state opponent Southern. And after another solid workout - and Hamilton's lead - the Ragin' Cajuns received a day off after working nearly non-stop since reporting to camp on Aug. 1.
"Preparation has been going pretty good, I feel like we're ahead of where we probably need to be at this moment right now," Hudspeth said. "The kids have really worked hard and have done everything we've asked them to do ... and probably a little bit more."
After two rugged weeks of practice, that including a pair of scrimmages, the Ragin' Cajuns accomplished their main goal of camp ... coming out healthy. With a day off on Wednesday and the Ragin' Cajuns settling into a normal game-week schedule, the second goal of the team is to be as mentally and physically sharp as possible.
"We came out of camp healthy and that was our first goal," Hudspeth said. "Our second goal is to make sure that when we get to that opening kickoff that our bodies and our minds are as fresh and prepared as we can be."
Hudspeth noted several players - among them sophomore Kevin Fouquier and Dominick Jones, along with redshirt freshman Matthew Barnes and Darrius Hoggins - as players expected to see significant playing time after each having solid performances since the beginning of camp.
"There's always a few players that really step up that weren't here in the spring, or were here (in spring practice) and did not have quite the kind of spring they wanted," Hudspeth said. "Kevin (Fouquier) has really stepped up at linebacker and accelerated his play. He's going to be a really good player for us in the middle.
"In the secondary, Dominick Jones continues to improve and that is a big plus. On offense, Matt Barnes, who's playing our ‘H' position has really had a phenomenal camp and is going to help us this year. Darrius Hoggins was a guy we weren't really going to be counting on this year at running back, but has had a great camp and will get into the return game."
Louisiana will return to practice on Thursday with an afternoon workout before holding a "Mock Scrimmage" on Friday morning at Cajun Field. The team will be off on Saturday before participating at Fan Day, which is scheduled from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday at the Cajundome.