Two hours of scrimmage came down to one play as the defense stopped the offense on a fourth and goal inside the 10 to come from behind for a 32-30 win over the offense in the first full scrimmage of the fall. The scrimmage came to an early end because of lightning in the area.
"We practice hard this morning but we weren't practicing relentlessly hard so I challenged the team to come out this afternoon and get after it," head coach Mark Hudspeth said.
"Boy was there some energy this afternoon. When a scrimmage means as much as it meant to our guys today, you know that winning is important," Hudspeth added.
With the first half of the practice focusing on situational plays, for instance working on third and short or third and long plays among others, the defense jumped out to a big lead before the offense stormed back, taking the lead on a Ricky Johnson touchdown catch late in the scrimmage.
With another day with the head index well over 100 degrees, Hudspeth opted to rest several of the returning starters in favor of giving playing time to the reserves.
All four quarterbacks played in the scrimmage with Hudspeth continuing his search for the backup to Terrance Broadway.
"We don't have a Terrance Broadway backing up like we did last year, but what we do have are three young and talented quarterbacks who keep getting better as they continue to practice," Hudspeth said.
Another position that put a smile on his face was in the offensive backfield, where as many as five backs are competing for playing time. Junior Alonzo Harris remains the incumbent starter with 2012 reserves Torrey Pierce and Effrem Reed in the mix along with sophomore Montrel Carter and freshman Elijah McGuire.
Hudspeth was happy with the progress that the defense has shown this week, especially in the scrimmage.
"The defense played harder today, especially the front seven," Hudspeth noted. "They put some pressure on the quarterback, stopped the run and didn't let up any big plays. That's a great sign."
Carter saw live action on the Cajun Field turf for the first time since tearing the ACL in his left knee in the first quarter of the 2012 season opener against Lamar.
McGuire, a first-year freshman, led the state of Louisiana with 2,603 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns as a senior last year at Vandebilt Catholic.
"Elijah has been the most impressive of the freshmen in camp this year," Hudspeth said. "He may be ready for the prime time this year."
After having a pair of offensive linemen injured in practice on Friday, Hudspeth noted that the injuries allowed him to give some other players a chance to play.
"It's always nice to have a Daniel Quave in the lineup, but with him sitting today, it allowed us to force-feed some snaps to a couple of other guys and see how ready they are. This will help us in the long run," Hudspeth said.