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Football: Louisiana Football First Week Of Spring Practice

David Collins, Athletics Communications Assistant

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LAFAYETTE – After three sessions of spring practice the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns football team wrapped up their first week of the spring by putting on the pads and knocking off the rust in a morning session at Cajun Field.

A PADTASTIC MORNING: Things started to sound more like football on Cajun Field today as the team got going with the pads on for the first time this spring.  The practice tempo stayed the same, but the physicality and overall energy surrounding the practice was stepped up to the next level.

THREE PRACTICES MEANS THREE TIMES THE FOOTBALL: Louisiana held their first three practices of the spring this week, on Tuesday, Mar. 13, Thursday, Mar. 15 and today Saturday, Mar. 17.  In total the Cajuns will hold 14 practices plus the spring game over the next month.  The first two practices the team wore just helmets and shorts to get back into the swing of things, but today the Cajuns broke out the pads for their first full contact practice.

ONE WEEK CLOSER TO THE SPRING GAME: Although practices throughout the spring are closed to the public, the Vermilion-White Spring Game on Saturday, Apr. 21, starting at 12:30 p.m., will be open to the public for free, and will be played at Cajun Field.  The game will also be broadcast live on Cox Sports TV.

BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THOSE TICKETS: Renewal forms for 2018 football season tickets and Personal Seat Donations (PSD) have been sent out via the mail so fans are encouraged to continuously check their mailboxes, so they can get their 2018 tickets.  Fans who aren’t on the mailing list can visit http://www.ragincajuns.com/sb_output.aspx?form=36 where they can fill out a form to get on the season tickets waiting list.

(Head Coach Billy Napier)
General statement
"I think that we put together another good day relative to the energy, effort, attitude and intangibles that we’re looking for.  I think that the players are doing well in those regards, but we’ve got to work on our level of execution and attention to detail.  I told the team that effort and toughness is a choice and that we want our team to be known for those things.  We’re in the process of developing those things both individually and with the team as a whole.  But we had a lot of positives out there today, even with the amount of work that we have to do going forward."
On Sophomore Running Back Trey Ragas
"We want to be a run, play action team.  Which will help us attack both the perimeter and vertically on the offense side of the ball.  Trey is a big physical back, that can catch the ball and is good in protection as well.  I think that Trey has a lot of room for improvement, but he’s got a great attitude and he’s talented.  He’s had a great off season so far and we’ve asked him to lose some weight and he’s done that slimming down to 219 pounds and we’d like him down to 215.  We want to lean him up, so he can play faster, and that’ll give him more endurance during the games."
On Playing A Spread Offense
"We’re going to play in a 12 personal and we’ve moved away from playing under the center with the goal of spreading the defense out.  That creates a new dynamic for the defense, and something else we’re going to try and do is play in the pistol formation and that allows us to attack the defense in a different way."
On Putting on The Pads
"It’s a different level of conditioning when you put on the pads.  No matter how much you try and simulate the play and speed of a game there’s a little bit of a process to get them back into the grove we’re looking for.  You could see that today, when we got about halfway through practice the guys had hands on knees as compared to the other two days when we just had helmets on the guys we’re flying around.  Putting the pads on exposes technique and hand placement as well and it allows for a certain type of physicality that allows some players to excel while others might disappear."
(Jacques Boudreaux, Jr., LB)
On the Defense
"I think that Coach Roberts brings a good mentality to the defense, allowing us to play fast and physical.  Most of our things are not complex, which allows us to think less and react faster and in football that’s important.  In the past we had lots of things to work through pre-snap but now, with the simplified schemes, it allows us to react and just play football."
On Working with New Coaches
"I can’t stress enough how this is a new beginning for everyone and that’s what the coaching staff has been telling us.  Everybody has a clean slate and I think that everybody is excited and we’re looking forward to the spring."
(Trey Ragas, So., RB)
On What It Will Take to Become A Better Back This Season
"I think that losing some weight and becoming learner and faster will help my success on the field this season.  I’m more focused on football and the playbook so that I can know what everyone is doing on each play from myself, to the linemen and across the field."
On Losing Weight but Not Power
"It’s about losing the body fat.  In that situation you’re not losing pounds just the excess fat.  You can still have the power and speed and replaced it with muscle and strength."
On the New Look Offense
"It’s new to us right now, even though I feel as though it’s going to work for us.  We just need to learn the new concepts and when we do that we’ll be moving faster, and we’ll have the offense down pat."
FOLLOWING THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS: Follow the Cajuns on twitter (@RaginCajunsFB), Facebook (RaginCajunsFootball) and Instagram (ragincajunsFB) to stay up to date with all things Cajuns football as they roll through the spring season.