To start the second half of preseason camp, head coach Mark Hudspeth had a treat in store for the Cajuns.
After the morning practice lasted for almost three hours, 30 minutes more than normal, the Cajuns broke for lunch and returned as usual for their afternoon meetings prior to the second scheduled workout of the day.
An hour into the meetings, the schedule changed as Hudspeth abandoned plans for a second session in favor of the annual team outing at the pool at Bourgeois Hall, which is located a stones throw away from the football practice facility.
The pool party couldn't have come at a better time.
"You can tell by the look of our football team that camp is starting to take its toll," Hudspeth said. "We had a really tough conditioning session after practice this morning and you tell that camp is starting to take its affects. Not only physically, with some of the injuries where you get banged up, hurt your shoulder here, an ankle there or a wrist, but also the emotional part that comes with a really tough camp.
"These guys have been getting up at 6:00 a.m. every day and grinding out two practices a day, walk-throughs and meetings. It's been a pretty full schedule for the last two weeks so to get away from the field and take a break like we did this afternoon will help us in the long run."
"We still have to finish the next two days. We've got a scrimmage on Saturday that we will scale back a little bit. We need to finish camp on positive note.
Before hitting the pool, Hudspeth met with the media for the second time as a group during preseason and shared his thoughts about camp.
"So far camp's been a good camp. We've had a lot of kids who have surprised us and are starting to step up and make a difference. They're starting to give us the depth that we'd hope they would. We've probably got more team speed on the field than we've had in the past and our depth at most positions is solid.
"Our goal is to stay healthy from this point on and if we do, I think we'll get our starting 22 all to Fayetteville, all injury free," Hudspeth added.
Part of the reason for Hudspeth's optimism is the progress that the team has made and the squad's commitment to the program and its ideals.
"Camp has been good. It has been a grind, but camp to me has to be somewhat of grind, especially the new kids. There has to be a certain amount of investment and these guys have invested an awful lot since we started on August 4th," Hudspeth said.
"There is still a lot that we have to put in the bank, still a lot of investing to do. If can continue on that track, we can get some great return on it," Hudspeth added.