Cajuns Turn In A Strong Effort During A Late-Afternoon Practice

After six tough days of preseason practice in the miserably hot South Louisiana August weather, the Louisiana football team took Sunday morning off before returning to the practice field in the afternoon.

The morning was spent at church as the entire Cajuns squad attended the service at East Bayou Bank.

"That's my church and Brother Mike Walker gave a nice sermon today," head coach Mark Hudspeth said. "On Sunday's, church is first and football is second in our lives and I am glad that we all got together for the service."

The light morning schedule also allowed the Cajuns players almost three more hours of sleep, a rarity during the preseason.

After an early afternoon spent in team meetings, the squad was on the practice field at 4:00 p.m. for their eighth session of the preseason. Unlike the full contact scrimmage from Saturday, the Cajuns were shorts, jerseys and helmets only.

The focus of the practice was the continued installation of the basic offenses and defenses and for the second straight day, Hudspeth was impressed with the effort of the defense.

"The defense really stepped it up again today and turned in one of its best practices in a long time," Hudspeth said. "That's two good practices back-to-back. They had their tempo, effort and strength continues to improve.

"I challenged the defense earlier this week and the defensive line is starting to answer the challenge. I think they took it personal and through the last couple of practices, they've started to create the kind of depth that can be a difference maker," Hudspeth added.

The end of the practice focused mostly on special in-game situations and rule changes, especially the three-second rule.

One of the rules changes for the 2013 season is that in order for a team to spike a ball to stop the clock, there has to be at least three seconds on the clock. If the clock stops to move the chains with two seconds, officials will deem that there is not enough time to down the ball so a team has to run a play.

"It's important that everybody be aware of that and all the other rules that are now in place so that we are ready when they come into play during the season," Hudspeth said.

Hudspeth noted after the practice the off field efforts of freshman Elijah McGuire.

In a time when it seems like all people read about are the negative things that athletes are doing across the country, McGuire was noticed for a small task he performed.

After a recent meal in the cafeteria on campus, McGuire, who was one of the last football players to eat, stopped to clear off and wipe down all of the tables and do his best to leave the cafeteria in the same condition that the players found it.

"Elijah acted like all of our players are taught to act and I commend him for it," Hudspeth said. "There is a whole crew of people who work all day preparing the meals for our student-athletes and it is important that our guys respect them and help out whenever possible."

The early evening saw the Cajuns in more position meetings, watching video from Saturday's scrimmage and Sunday's practice, before heading off to dinner.

Unlike earlier in the day, a 6:00 a.m. wakeup was scheduled for Monday morning.