“They have some outstanding players. (Herschel) Sims is as good as any running back that we will play this year.” MARK HUDSPETH, ULL coach
LAFAYETTE — Any illusions about Lamar being an easy victim for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette football team on Saturday night were quickly dispelled by Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth.
Hudspeth pointed to the number of Division I transfers on Lamar’s team and the common opponents ULL and the Cardinals had last season.
Lamar is in its third year of playing football since dropping the sport in 1989, but the Southland Conference school will have some talented players on the field for the 6 p.m. season opener, Hudspeth said.
“We’ve got all the film of Lamar from last year and we saw they really got after Nicholls State when we struggled against Nicholls in the first half,” said Huspeth, who starts his second season at ULL. “They have some outstanding players. (Herschel) Sims is as good as any running back that we will play this year.”
Sims, who gained 542 yards at Oklahoma State last year, is joined by former University of Kentucky signee Ryan Mossakowski, the expected starter at quarterback.
Starting linebacker Blake Chavis originally signed at Texas A&M and played at Arkansas State. Wide receiver Kevin Johnson also played at Oklahoma State, and 245-pound starting linebacker Marcus Malbrough once was on the Missouri roster.
ULL also has its share of high-profile transfers.
Starting senior defensive Cordian Hagans was an LSU offensive lineman, while sophomore strong safety Darius Barksdale initially signed with Ole Miss.
Another ex-Ole Miss signee, linebacker Delvin Jones, will also see action for ULL tonight. The Cajuns backup quarterback, Terrance Broadway of Baton Rouge, is a University of Houston transfer.
The Cardinals were 4-7 last season, while the Cajuns were 9-4 and won the first bowl game in school history.
While Hudspeth worried somewhat about the Cajuns’ depth in the secondary, he said he likes ULL’s offensive talent.
Hudspeth said he expects to play three running backs against the Cardinals, integrate six wide receivers and multiple tight ends to assist returning quarterback Blaine Gautier.
Freshmen redshirts Montrel Carter and Effrem Reed, a former Dutchtown High School standout, will be rotated along with 220-pound sophomore Alonzo Harris (700 yards in 2011) at running back, Hudspeth said.
The Cajuns will throw six wide receivers at Lamar, led by senior Javone Lawson (1,487 career reception yards).
Lawson has been impressive in the preseason, said Hudspeth.
“He’s practiced at a higher level than any receiver I’ve coached anywhere I’ve been. I can see why (Lawson) is the best receiver (in the Sun Belt Conference) and one of the best in Division 1,” he said.
Large turnout expected
If the weather has improved after a weary week of Hurricane Isaac, Hudspeth said he expects Cajun Field to reach its 31,000-fan capacity for Lamar.
ULL announced it has sold about 10,000 season tickets.
The Cajuns are playing six home games this season. ULL won all five home games last season.
Lamar and ULL played 26 times in football from the early 1950s until 1989. Most of those contests featured a bronze Sabine Shoe trophy, which was on display at Hudspeth’s noon Monday news luncheon.
Hudspeth said the shoe ULL kicker Brett Baer used to kick the game-winning field goal in the New Orleans Bowl is being bronzed.