Apr 4, 2014 11:39 PM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE - Early morning thunderstorms in the Lafayette area forced the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns football team indoors for the first time during spring drills on Friday, but the team continued its solid progression as it wrapped up its fourth week of practice heading into the annual Red-White Spring Game on April 12.
Practicing a day earlier than originally scheduled, the Cajuns worked in full gear for two hours inside the Moncla Indoor Facility where it continued to work fundamentals in all areas. The Cajuns, who captured the Sun Belt Conference championship and posted their third straight nine-win season under head coach Mark Hudspeth in 2013, return a veteran squad that includes 66 letterwinners and 17 starters.
"I think some of the highlights (of spring practice) are having so many veterans back, so many returning starters and players who have been a part of this program for three years" Hudspeth said. "We were able to get a lot of great individual work in, we worked hard on fundamentals and were able to get a lot of great work in."
After playing his first two seasons on the defensive side of the ball, highlighted by a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown last season against WKU, junior Al Riles made the move to wide receiver before the beginning of spring drills and has quickly adjusted to the Cajuns' offensive scheme. Also making the switch during spring drills and thriving in their new roles are junior college transfers Antoine Adkins (from receiver to defensive back) and C.J. Bates (from defensive back to receiver).
"We're trying to get guys into the best positions to be successful to help our team,' Hudspeth said. "Moving Al (to wide receiver) was a great move. He's got great ball skills, great speed and he's tough. We moved Antoine Adkins to corner and C.J. Bates to receiver. Both moves have been great. They're both going to help us tremendously. We've helped our team in those areas."
With Riles moving from his safety position in 2013, the Mandeville native is now part of a veteran offense that includes four returning starters on the offensive line, a trio of all-conference skill players (Alonzo Harris, Elijah McGuire, Jamal Robinson), and quarterback Terrance Broadway.
"I think we've had more leadership at this point of the year than we've ever had," Hudspeth said. "They've all been leaders. That's the part that I really felt we needed more of was more leadership. And we're getting that. And I think we'll have even more as the fall gets here."
Louisiana will begin its final week of spring practice with afternoon workouts on Tuesday and Thursday. The Ragin' Cajuns will hold their annual Red-White Spring Game on April 12 at noon at Cajun Field and will open the 2014 season on Aug. 30 when it plays host to Southern.