Football: Prudhomme: 'At heart, I'm a center'
Bobby Ardoin, The Advertiser, Aug. 31, 2017
LAFAYETTE — There’s perhaps no better way for Cole Prudhomme to celebrate his first collegiate start than to have it occur at the position where he’s played his entire football career.
Forget the short time last season when he played guard, Prudhomme says.
“At heart I’m a center. I’ve been playing there all my life. It’s what i know,” says Prudhomme, who is scheduled to start at the center position when UL hosts Southeastern Louisiana at Cajun Field beginning at 6:05 p.m. Saturday.
The 305-pound sophomore from Eunice High is in his third season in the UL program, and after redshirting as a freshman and playing some at guard last year because of injuries, Prudhomme feels he’s ready to start at what he considers his natural position.
“It’s been a long time for me (at UL). I came in, was redshirted and I needed to get my weight up. Playing center here and in high school, though, is totally different,” he said.
In junior high and high school, Prudhomme said he was expected to perform the basic functions of a center playing at that level.
College centers, he said, have an elevated tier of responsibilities.
“There’s a big difference. You get to the line of scrimmage and right off you’re figuring the defensive front. Is it a four-man, three-man, whatever. Then you look at the linebackers. Is there blitz? You look out at the safety. You see if he’s on the hash or off the hash. All the time you’re making calls to the other linemen and notifying the quarterback.
"So yeah, there’s a lot to know. Basically it’s as if you’re at quarterback on the line of scrimmage,” Prudhomme said.
Prudhomme said he didn’t mind filling in at guard last season due to injuries across the line of scrimmage. He didn’t perform much in spring practices due to injuries and since preseason he has placed him in a starting battle with junior college transfer Kordell Brewster.
This week UL head coach Mark Hudspeth said he anticipates starting Prudhomme against Southeastern, but both centers will play.
“I think we’ll start Cole. I feel that we need to be a little more consistent with Kordell’s snaps. “Brewster is really strong at the point of attack, but he hasn’t been in our system as long as Cole,” Hudspeth said.
Hudspeth has watched Prudhomme’s development and he likes what he has observed so far.
“We’ve put (Cole) at guard a little bit. We signed him as a center. He’s a tough kid and that’s what I like at the center position. He’s nasty, tough. He’s 6-2, 305 pounds and brings good leverage.
“What I also like about him is he’s an athletic guy. He doesn’t look like he’s 305. I look at him more like he’s 265,” said Hudspeth.
Prudhomme said the years he spent waiting to start for the Cajuns haven’t exactly been wasted or leisurely.
His progression from redshirt to starter has been helped he said, by mentoring from former UL center Eddie Gordon, who was UL’s starter for two seasons for an offense seemingly in constant flux.
“Since i’ve been here, we’ve changed offenses three times. So in that way, it’s been hard. Eddie taught me everything that I know. I’ve studied him and asked him everything I can think of,” said Prudhomme.
On Saturday night Prudhomme will step onto Cajun Field directing yet another UL offense. This time the offensive coordinator is first-year assistant Will Hall, who implemented his system this spring.
So it has had time to recalibrate again, said Prudhomme.
“What we’re doing offensively is definitely different, but at the same time, it’s the same.
Blocking assignments are all the same, but everything has a new name. Running plays are the same, but there are little tweaks here and there. It’s been good to have the same base program (offensively) and just run different plays off it,” Prudhomme said.
Prudhomme will snap to junior quarterback Jordan Davis to start on Saturday, but there will be little lack of familiarity there. Davis didn’t start at all in 2016 and in the previous season he started the Cajuns’ final game.
“When I came here me and JD (Davis) were redshirts and we got to be good friends. Now that he’s the starting quarterback and I’m starting center, we click really well and we’re on the same page.
“He has improved so much. He’s taking the initiative and he’s becoming more of a leader now,” Prudhomme said.