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Football: Smooth operator – Broadway takes new star status in stride

Tim Buckley, Daily Advertiser, Aug. 8, 2013

UL QB Terrance Broadway ready for 2013 season

UL QB Terrance Broadway ready for 2013 season: UL quarterback Terrance Broadway talks about his preparation for the 2013 season and his expectations for the Ragin’ Cajuns. — Video by Chad Washington, The Advertiser

UL Ragin’ Cajuns offensive coordinator Jay Johnson is fast to laud Terrance Broadway, the now-junior quarterback who became UL’s starter when then-senior Blaine Gautier broke two bones in his throwing hand four games into last season.

In fact, Johnson cites Broadway’s readiness as his basis for having no worries whatsoever as to how this season the University of Houston transfer will handle high praise from elsewhere – including placement in recent weeks on watch lists for both the Manning and Davey O’Brien national college quarterback awards.

“Even when he came here and was in a transfer mode, he prepared himself to be ready when Blaine got hurt,” Johnson said. “And if you look at what he’s done since, (being) a student of the game, knowing the game, learning what (new UL defensive coordinator James) Willis and the defense is doing – I’m not concerned, because I think he knows himself.

“He knows some of his weaknesses, and he’s focused enough to handle all that. Because he prepares.”

Broadway, however, is much, much harder on himself than the coach with whom he works most closely on a day-to-day basis.

In fact, he points squarely to himself – and a self-described lack of that very preparedness Johnson readily references – as the reason UL dropped its first two Sun Belt Conference games after Gautier went down.

The first came at North Texas, the second at home against eventual league-champ Arkansas State, both midweek October games nationally televised on ESPN2.

The losses were quite costly, keeping the ultimately 9-4 Cajuns from winning the Sun Belt title they now so anxiously seek.

And never mind how defensive miscues doomed UL against the Mean Green and the Red Wolves.

“I think both of those games were winnable games, and it just was mistakes that I made – and that I didn’t make the rest of the season,” Broadway said shortly after the Cajuns opened training camp earlier this week. “(They were) mistakes I think I shouldn’t have made if I would have put the proper work in.

“But I’m putting the proper work in now, and I think our team is looking forward to taking advantage of every opportunity we have,” added Broadway, who was picked off once by North Texas and three times by Arkansas State. “We let a couple slip last year which we shouldn’t have let slip.”

UL finished 5-1 after the Arkansas State loss, dropping only a non-conference game at nationally ranked Florida the rest of the way.

The Cajuns closed with a New Orleans Bowl win over East Carolina in which Broadway was named MVP after he completed 21-of-32 passes for 316 yards and one touchdown and ran 15 times for another 108 yards and one more TD.

Now, with nine starts for UL to go with his one for Houston on his resume, the product of Baton Rouge’s Capitol High is prepping for a season that starts with an Aug. 31 non-conference visit to Arkansas.

And the only thing he is focused on is film, not compilations of quarterbacks – just 34 each on both the Davey O’Brien and Manning lists – held in the same high regard as him.

“That’s one thing I like about him,” Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth said. “I don’t know if he even knows about half that stuff. I don’t think it really fazes him.”

Broadway may be aware of more than Hudspeth lets on, but whatever he does know certainly doesn’t consume him.

“The watch lists – that’s good. But it’s just a list, like I always say,” he said. “I haven’t done nothing yet, so it’s on me to work hard and make sure I perform well against those teams that we’re playing this year.”

Hudspeth seems confident Broadway will.

‘“He’s all about the bottom line, and I think that’s winning games. And I think he wants to be known for that – leading his team to victories,” the Cajun coach said. “I think he understands that if he does that a lot of these other accolades will come along with the job of being a winning quarterback.

“So, luckily he doesn’t allow a lot of that to go to his head. He’s very grounded. Good father, good teammate, good leader. I just think he’s what you want to be as your Ragin’ Cajun’ quarterback.”

What concerns Broadway, who has a young son, much more than hardware are the mechanics over which he has control.

It’s with that in mind he and Johnson spend hours upon hours breaking down practice and game tapes, including those from when he first arrived at UL in 2011.

“Then we compared (to the present),” Johnson said, “and we kind of got a good laugh.”

All kidding aside, Broadway has made notable strides.

That’s even after a 2012 season in which he set UL single-season records for total offense (3,611 yards) and completion percentage (.654) while completing 206-of-315 passes for 2,842 yards and 17 touchdowns.

“We’ve talked about things that I think he needs to improve upon,” said Johnson, who called Broadway “very level-headed.”

“He and I have been very much on the same page. He knows what we’re doing offensively. He studies defense, and he has the uncanny ability to take that on the field from a meeting room and apply it.”

Put to bed, Broadway hopes, are certain issues that proved problematic a season ago.

“We (have) fixed those things with timing and footwork,” he said. “Now it’s just remaining consistent with it.”