Aug 7, 2013 10:10 PM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE, La. - The third day of preseason for the Louisiana football team saw the Ragin' Cajuns take the practice field for the first time with shoulder pads on, allowing them to continue to get ready for Friday, the first day of contact.
Practicing in a blistering heat that featured a heat index of 110, the Cajuns started strong but puzzled third year head coach Mark Hudspeth by slowing towards the end of practice.
"We had a good practice today, but I am disappointed that we slowed in the second half and didn't finish like we normally do," Hudspeth said. "We are one of the best fourth quarter teams in the country because when we practice, we always finish hard.
"That's important. It seems like every game comes down to having to make a play in the fourth quarter so we have got to be ready. We as a coaching staff are not going to let them drop off. " Hudspeth added.
The practice was another lesson for the Cajuns newcomers, who were quickly trying to pick up the nuances of Louisiana football.
When the team split up for the seven-on-seven passing drills, junior Jamal Robinson mentored freshman Devin Scott, helping the newcomer to run interpret the play being called in from the sidelines and run the correct route.
The Cajuns players were also learning quickly about the Louisiana heat and how to stay hydrated, as their attempts to offset the side affects of the heat they encountered during Tuesday's practice led to body fatigue and weight loss on Wednesday.
"As much as we have the players hydrate during the day, they are going to have to do even better," Hudspeth said. "We tried to rotate the players a little better today to give them breaks because as important as it is to practice hard to get ready for the opener, it is even more important that we take care of ourselves and hydrate so that we don't have any players have problems that end up keeping them out of the lineup for a couple of weeks. We have to keep our guys healthy"
One player that Hudspeth enjoys seeing on the field is senior center Andre Huval, who has often been described as a coach on the field because of his in-depth knowledge of the system and the effort that he puts into doing things right.
"Andre has come to camp ready to play and it is a pleasure to watch him on the field," Hudspeth said.
"He enjoys playing the game so much that you can see that in him by his demeanor during practice and there isn't that much to enjoy when you come out and you have a heat index well over 100. But he is excited to be here, he has a great attitude and he is committed to being a champion," Hudspeth added.
After returning to campus in the early afternoon, the squad had their second position meetings of the day.
The players were treated to an unexpected break in the position meetings, during which they had an afternoon snack of BBQ chicken, rice dressing, corn, fruit and Rice Krispies treats, which was prepared and donated by Garret Gauthier and the staff of Gauthier Containers in Lafayette.
With each player burning as many as 6,500 calories during a preseason workout, hydrating isn't the only thing the staff is worried about. Getting enough protein and carbohydrates to offset the calories used is just as important to make sure that the players don't lose the weight and strength that they worked all summer to build.
With that in mind, Coach Hudspeth has worked to arrange extra meals each day for the players to eat to make up for the extra calories being burned and providing the players with the fuel that they need to get through camp.