Pollsters recognizing ULL’s success
LAFAYETTE — Although he is withholding his personal ballot for now, Mark Hudspeth is apparently beginning to receive the national attention that he has eagerly sought for his University of Louisiana at Lafayette football program.
The Cajuns (4-1) received six votes — good for No.38 — in this week’s USA Today poll.
Then beginning with ULL’s Oct. 16 game at North Texas, the Cajuns play two consecutive nationally televised Tuesday night contests against Sun Belt Conference teams.
Hudspeth said at his weekly press luncheon Monday that he didn’t expect the Cajuns to receive the recognition it received in the USA Today voting, but that his ballot did not include his own team.
“I’ll be real honest with you. When I saw that, I was really glad to see that and to be honest, mine was not one of those (votes).
“I’m waiting to see how we do the next couple of weeks and that could very well be one of mine. I think we’re close to becoming a very good football team, but we’re still a work in progress, trying to improve,” Hudspeth said.
No matter what the situation, it’s a pleasant surprise that ULL’s program is starting to attract attention outside Louisiana.
“When you start getting some votes from other people and are not counting your own vote, then I think that’s opening some eyes around the country. That’s great to see, but we’re still working hard at just getting better every day,” Hudspeth said.
One area of improvement for the Cajuns, Hudspeth said, must come offensively where the Cajuns are succeeding on 39 percent of third down attempts.
Hudspeth said ULL needs to avoid what he termed, the third and long and third and medium distance situations.
“For us, you’ve do better on first and second downs. Right now, our third-down calls are third-and-long, third-and-medium and there’s not a lot of magical calls for third-and-10.
“We’ve got to get in those third and ones and third and twos. When you have a lot of third and five pluses, that’s hard,” said Hudspeth.
Preparing for Tuesday night games for two straight weeks, presents a different type of preparation routines, Hudspeth said.
“This is pretty unique scheduling, especially when you play Tuesday’s back to back,” Hudspeth said.
“We are going to come back (Tuesday) with a bonus practice, an extra practice and Wednesday begins normal game week.
“That’s a little confusing, but you always work back, so you can stay right on schedule with six-day week cycle.
“Then the next week is a seven-day cycle, so our Wednesday (the day after the North Texas game) will be like a Sunday. And then we will come back with a 10 or 12-day layoff before we play at (Louisiana-Monroe),” Hudspeth said.
Hudspeth said the Cajuns are getting into what he termed “the meat of our schedule.”
Although ULL leads the SBC with a 2-0 record, the Cajuns still have to play Western Kentucky (4-1, 1-0) and ULM (3-2, 1-0).
The Cajuns and North Texas both have this weekend off.
Hudspeth said he was generally pleased with the first start of Terrance Broadway, who quarterbacked the Cajuns in a 41-13 victory Saturday over Tulane.
“I think it’s just getting more practice repetitions and just going through his progressions and taking what the defense gives you and not forcing things,” Hudspeth said.
Broadway gave up an interception against Tulane.
“He was fixing to throw left and then decided to throw right and it’s a bad combination when you decide to do that,” Hudspeth said.
Still Hudspeth said Broadway’s two touchdown passes and another that he ran in on a zone option play, are hard to dispute.
“That’s pretty good for your first start. I thought he made some good decisions, managed the game well and he will just continue to get better now, since he will get all the reps in practice,” he said.
“I thought he had a great command of the team and showed a lot of leadership.”