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Football: Huval key to rushing attack

Tim Buckley, Daily Advertiser, November 1, 2013

With the Ragin’ Cajuns running virtually at will in October ESPN2-televised wins at Arkansas State and Western Kentucky, and after having run up 456 yards on the ground in a Sept. 14 win over Nicholls State as well, much has been made in recent weeks regarding the play of UL’s offensive line.

It wasn’t without sizeable holes, after all, that running backs Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire both gained more than 100 yards at Arkansas State, or that the Cajuns controlled the clock in Jonesboro for 42-plus minutes.

When breaking down the line this week, however, Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth pointed to work of one player in particular as being the key behind it all.

He’s Andre Huval, the unit’s lone senior.

“They are all on the same page, and they all know who they are working to,” Hudspeth said. “And there’s a lot to be said about that – when you’ve got combo blocking, and you’re working to the front-side (line)backer, to the back-side ’backer, or if you’re picking up a ’backer that’s fixin’ to blitz and he hasn’t shown it yet but you know it’s coming.

“The reason we’re able to do that is we’ve got a quarterback playing center. We’ve got a coach, really, playing center in Andre Huval.”

The St. Thomas More High product has been named twice to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, awarded annually to the top NCAA FBS center.

“He gets all five guys working in perfect cohesion, to the right people,” Hudspeth said.

“You can come off all you want, but if you’re blocking the wrong person and you’ve got a guy coming free then you’re gonna be in trouble and you’re gonna have lost-yardage plays.

“We’ve been able to get positive yardage on first and second down, remain in third-and-short,” he added, “and we’ve been able to convert those third-and-shorts and extend a lot of drives.”

It’s largely because of how Huval has doled out assignments on the fly to junior guards Terry Johnson and Daniel Quave and sophomore tackles Mykhael Quave and Octravian Anderson.

Hudspeth said he’s never before coached a center “at the level he’s directing traffic out there.”

Huval is the only center Hudspeth’s had at UL.

He transitioned from guard to the unfamiliar position when the Cajun coach and his new staff took over following his freshman season.

“He has a complete understanding of what we’re doing, and a complete understanding of defensive schemes,” Hudspeth said. “And you’re talking about a 4-3 scheme, a 4-2 scheme, 4-1, a 3-4, safeties coming down about to bring a field fire.

“He’s got everybody all on the same page. He’s doing a phenomenal job, especially when you’ve got young guys on the edges.”