Football: Seeking a new center, UL looking at Horst in the middle
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, Aug. 13, 2017
After Saturday night’s closed scrimmage, he didn’t seem nearly so certain.
Hudspeth wasn’t especially pleased with his line’s play, so much so he said he’d continue to look this week at a possible shuffle that would move starting tackle Grant Horst to center – with a couple dominoes potentially falling along the way.
“I didn’t think up front we had a very good night,” he said. “And I expect a lot of our offensive line … because I think we’ve got a really good group.
“Even our 2s are pretty solid. And I didn’t think we (were) as good as we can be, or as good as we’re gonna be. Give the defense credit too.”
UL provided no stats from the scrimmage, during which Hudspeth said No. 1 quarterback Jordan Davis – hampered from being able to create with his legs because he was not live – looked “okay.”
Before watching film, he also said the Cajuns “did not run the football as effective as I want it to be.”
But Hudspeth did say he liked some things, including:
* Stevie Artigue’s opening-drive 50-yard field with “about 10 yards to spare;”
* true-freshman quarterback Levi Lewis’ “calm” and “poise;”
* true-freshman QB Kadon Harrison’s running, which included one touchdown, and display of “athletic ability;”
* three forced turnovers from the defense;
* the play of defensive linemen Trev Miller (one sack) and Jarvis Jeffries; and
* the play of inside linebacker Tanner Holmes, who was “flying around” and had two tackles-for-loss.
The turnovers – including a punch-out and a tipped pass – really bothered Hudspeth.
“We’ve been too good taking care of the ball in the past,” he said, “and we have got to correct those things.
“(But) if we can come away with two or three turnovers a game, that will be a big difference.”
It’s the offensive-line play, though, that sounded especially concerning to Hudspeth.
Early in camp, the UL had one day when snaps were especially an issue.
Not so Saturday.
“We did not have one missed snapped … so that was an improvement right there,” Hudspeth said.
But the Cajuns could be having other issues at center, considering that what would be a huge change is being contemplated there.After the scrimmage, Hudspeth said “it’s pretty much an open competition” between returnee Cole Prudhomme and juco-transfer Kordell Brewster to replace two-year starter Eddie Gordon as UL’s starting center.
Prudhomme went into camp as a bit of a favorite to win the job, but Brewster was billed as a legit contender.
Now Horst – who has a smidge of prior experience at center, starting one game, in 2015, against Texas State – is getting some reps there, despite being slated to return as UL’s No. 1 right tackle.
“That might be an option,” Hudspeth said.
“So we’re still trying to figure out who the best five are gonna be, and we’re gonna put the best five on the field.”
UL also returns starting left-side tackle D’Aquin Withrow and starting guards Robert Hunt and Kevin Dotson.
If Horst were to start at center, one shuffle possibility is for Hunt to bounce out to tackle and Staten Wade – a juco-transfer from Reedley College in California who spent last season on UL’s roster – to start at guard.
It’s something Hudspeth indicated the Cajuns will continue to look at this week.
“That’s not done. Not set,” he said.
“We’re still working with matchups, and trying to find that best five. We’re still a work-in-progress. We’re still very fluid with that group.
“But we’ve got a lot of depth, and we’ve got a lot of quality guys to work with,” Hudspeth added. “As long as you have that, you can figure it out.”