LAFAYETTE – For the first time during spring practice the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns football team practiced indoors where they held their second scrimmage of spring practice inside the Leon Moncla Indoor Practice Facility on Saturday morning.
RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY: The poor weather this morning meant that the Cajuns had to move practice inside for their first practice of the spring off of Cajun Field. It didn't affect the intensity that the team had, and their practice moved along much like it has all spring.
SECOND SCRIMMAGE: Today's scrimmage was the second and final scrimmage that the team has held this spring. It was one final chance to simulate game type situations and give the team a tune-up ahead of the spring game, scheduled for one week from today.
THE SPRING GAME IS NEXT: On Saturday, Apr. 21, starting at 12:30 p.m., the Cajuns will hold the Vermilion-White Spring Game, which is free of admission for all fans. But there's more than just a game going on, fans will be treated with a day's worth of events surrounding the game.
Fans are encouraged to attend the Cajuns Alumni Game on Cajun Field that starts at 11:30 a.m. and runs until the start of the spring game at 12:30 p.m. When coming to either the Alumni Game or the spring game fans can bring canned goods to donate to the Cajuns Canned Food Drive as a part of the Geaux Cajuns Program Initiative.
All canned goods collected will be donated to the FoodNet Bank of Lafayette and student-athletes along with volunteers from the FoodNet Bank will be at gates A, C & D to collect the canned goods. Goods fans are encouraged to bring range from dry goods such as rice, pasta, dry beans and meals in a box. Canned goods that can be brought to donate include tuna, fruit, vegetables and tomato sauce.
During the game Richard Farms and Crawfish Time on Ridge Road will be selling five-pound orders of Crawfish at $20 an order. Fans can pay with cash or card and fans can buy their orders of Crawfish under the west tower main concourse area. All money collected from the Crawfish orders will be donated to the RCAF.
There will be a Kid Zone as well, located near gate A, and kids will be treated to an inflatable bouncy house, balloon animals and face painting. The Kid Zone will open up at noon and run through the game.
Post-game there will be a free concert by Zydeco legend Keith Frank and fans are encouraged to swing by the oak tree near gate A. The concert will start at approximately 2:30 p.m. following the conclusion of the game.
Fans who can't make it out can tune into the game on Cox Sports TV, with their coverage starting at 12:30 p.m. and running for the entire two hours of action.
RENEW THOSE SEASON TICKETS: Fans who had season tickets during the 2017 season have until April 21st to renew their season tickets for the 2018 season, by calling the Ragin' Cajuns ticket office at (337) 265-2357 or visiting www.ragincajuns.com/sb_output.aspx?form=36. Fans who didn't have season tickets during the 2017 season, can get on the season tickets waiting list by visiting the same website or calling the Ragin' Cajuns ticket office.
(Head Coach Billy Napier)
On Chase Rogers Staying
"I told him that I knew where we were heading from not only a culture standpoint but from a system standpoint as well. I felt like that coach Mike Desormeaux moving to that room would help Chase, since coach Des is a former quarterback and he's got a big picture viewpoint that I think has been great for all of the tight ends.
"I said just give us a chance and you'll be happy you did. He's been through a lot and he's done a great job of coming back from his injury. I think that he's found that we're going to be honest with him and that he can develop in this system and he's brought in to what we're doing. Chase has been one of the more impressive guys for us when talking about the intangibles."
On Zion Hill Bouncing Back from Injury
"Zion is a local kid, which is awesome for us to have a guy like that who's not only extremely talented but has passion about having success here. Zion to me has been one of the more impressive players on the entire team. We held agility drills right when I got here, and I came away extremely impressed with how he performed.
"He's strong, flexible, can play with power and he's extremely intelligent on the football field. He's made the most progress since he's got such great attention to detail when prepping and watching film. Zion is one of our best football players who's got tremendous leadership potential for the future."
On Getting Players to Lose Weight
"We don't want our players to be carrying around anything that doesn't help them play better. We want to get rid of the excess body fat, giving us a lean and well-conditioned team. People get too caught up in body weight. Football is a mobility game and we want to build up strength adding lean mass to our guys, which will build up their strength and mobility. We've had a lot of guys on the team lose weight, making us a lean and well-conditioned football team."
On Leadership Counsel
"There's 15 total, six on offense, six on defense and the three quarterbacks. It's not a standard number and it's one that can change. It's just an opportunity for me to spend time with those guys and teach them what my expectations are for the team. They're going to have input on discipline relative to the team and when decisions come up that will affect the team and they'll have a say in that as well.
"It's just an opportunity for them to take the message from the coaches and take it to the players. This summer will be an opportunity for those players to step up as leaders and take the team through voluntary workouts holding everyone accountable."
On Kickoff Return Rule Changes
"I really feel as though it's a move to improve player's safety. History will tell you that some of the bigger injuries and collusions happen on that play. They've made adjustments already to attempt to create a safer play for the players. Now they're trying to take the play out of the game to a certain point. For me that creates a new strategy. We were trying to decide how deep in the endzone to take the ball out, but now this rule would change that, and we'd have to go back to the drawing board and re chart things. I think you're going to see more deep squibs and teams forfeiting the play completely and just fair catch the ball to get it at the 25."
Chase Rogers, So. TE
On Returning from Injury
"I feel 100 percent healthy right now and I'm ready to go. I had surgery Nov. 11 and I came back for the first practice of the spring full speed. I've been getting better and better since then."
On the Differences from This Year to Last Year
"We use the tight ends more this year than we did last season. We've got the tight end on the field almost every play of the game and they're doing a great job of getting us the ball."
On Feelings When Finding Out About the New Offense
"I was excited when I came in and they gave us the play book. When we got out there I saw how they were going to be using the tight ends and it was just awesome for me and the tight ends."
On What Needs to Be Done Heading Into The Spring Game
"We're ready right now, but we've still got some improvements to make. We had just as many negatives as positives today, but everyday we're getting better, and I feel as though we're going to have a great day on Saturday."
On Coach Desormeaux's Transition to Tight End Coach
"He's doing a great job for us. He's getting us to do what we need to do, and he's done a great job of coaching us up and improving our technique. He's one of the coaches that sends in the signals which helps us know what plays are coming in. We had a great relationship with coach since he had transitioned over from the previous staff and that helps us get better."
On Deciding to Stay After the Coaching Change
"It was a big decision and I thought about it for a while. My dad and I sat down for a while and talked about it, and we also sat down with coach Napier. Coach convinced me to stay and to give the new coaching staff a chance. I'm glad I made the decision to stay. Everything coach has done here since coming has been great and we've all earned his trust."
Zi'Yon Hill, So., DE
On Being Out In Practice After Returning From Last Year's Injury
"This was my third time having surgery on my meniscus on the same knee, and I've been looking forward to it because my teammates have been counting on me to bounce back and perform as I usually do."
On Being Mentally Confident Recovering From The Injury
"I'm 100 percent confident right now and I'm ready to get on the field and play in the fall. At first, I was slightly babying the injury, but the training staff told me to play my game and everything will fall into place and work out."
On Defensive Improvements from Last Season
"The thing that will make us better will be playing the game with trust for each other. We're starting to really trust each other and gain the belief in each other that if I don't make the play then I know that my teammate behind me will make the play."
On Building Trust Among the Defense
"Coach Napier installed a system where we had to learn everyone's hometown and high school they came from so that we can build up a relationship with each other. That way we can learn to trust each other. Everyone has gotten to know each other and we're talking a lot and getting to trust each other on the field."
On Staying After the Coaching Changes
"The previous staff had recruited me, so I had built a relationship with them. But I was already planning on giving the new staff a chance to build a relationship with me once I heard they were coming in. I really like every coach that we have on the staff and they keep a close relationship with each player."