Louisiana-Lafayette’s Mark Hudspeth brings message to prep coaches

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- University of Louisiana at Lafayette head  football coach Mark Hudspeth speaks at the LHSCA Coaches Clinic Wednesday at the Crown Plaza hotel.
Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- University of Louisiana at Lafayette head football coach Mark Hudspeth speaks at the LHSCA Coaches Clinic Wednesday at the Crown Plaza hotel.

Like his program, University of Louisiana at Lafayette football coach Mark Hudspeth has moved up in the world.

A year after speaking to an overflow crowd in a smaller meeting room, Hudspeth had no problem filling a larger one with enthusiasm and energy at the Louisiana High School Coaches Association Coaches Clinic on Wednesday afternoon.

Not all seats were filled in the Crowne Plaza’s Premier I ballroom, but that didn’t keep Hudspeth from getting his points across in a variety of ways, including playing a passage from a Pat Benatar song.

The Cajuns’ coach brought along his assistant coaches and introduced them during part of his “Creating a Culture of Excellence” seminar.

Hudspeth’s presentation started with a quote from Adrian Rogers, “What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket.”

It was Hudspeth’s way to drive home the importance of practicing hard each day.

“You hear guys say ‘I’m a gamer,’ well I want practicers, guys who practice hard all the time,” Hudspeth said.

With that said, the Cajuns’ coach powered through a series of key points, such as having destinations/goals, which include playing with more passion than opponents, winning every home game, winning the conference, winning a bowl game and being ranked in the top 25. UL-Lafayette accomplished all but the top 25 ranking last season.

Hudspeth’s core values include: honesty, using good judgment, competing every day, being accountable, generating positive energy and finding a way to get things done.

Hudspeth recalled having a series of paper maps in his car when he was an assistant coach at Nicholls State. He also candidly told coaches there are a few players the Cajuns have issues with on the honesty front, calling it an issue of trust.

Soon, Hudspeth was back on a brisk pace. Playing a passage of a Benatar song that says “I believe there comes a time when everything falls into line” helped proved that point.

Music is more than a speaker’s gimmick. Hudspeth said he prefers “80’s big hair music” when the Cajuns are in the weight room or on the practice field.

Under the heading player development, Hudspeth lists physical development, mental toughness, character, discipline and football IQ as things coaches are responsible for building.

One example Hudpseth cited was the Cajuns’ “Protect the House” drill completed earlier this week. Players were required to run through all parts of Cajun Field carrying a military-style backpack that weighed 45 pounds.

Hudspeth also talked about coaches running from drill to drill with the players and holding players accountable.

He closed with the African proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

When asked what he likes about coaching in Louisiana, Hudspeth again said the right things.

“The No. 1 thing is there’s great high school football,” Hudspeth said. “The coaches do a great job of developing the players here. There are so many quality players, it gives us a chance to be competitive every day.”

The UL-Lafayette coach had already made his pitch to remain competitive recruiting-wise by telling coaches, “We may not be Alabama, but we’re 100 times more accessible. Come see us any time.”