WATCH: Mark Hudspeth On Ragin’ Cajuns Win And The Idaho Vandals
The Ragin' Cajuns needed a win, and they got exactly what the doctor ordered against Texas State. It was a medicine game, and it cured most of their ills.
Head Coach Mark Hudspeth has ten days to prepare for Idaho State, but he made sure to bask in the near-perfection of their dominant win over Texas State too.
"I was excited for our football team to get back into a victory locker room," Hudspeth said with a grin.
The Ragin' Cajuns dominated on defense, holding the Bobcats under 230 total yards. For reference, UL gained more yards on the ground than Texas State did overall. They punched Texas State right in the teeth for a knockout.
Coach Hud made sure to applaud their excellence, but a coach wouldn't be a coach if they didn't point out some flaws either. He found a way to compliment his team, while trying to prepare them better as well.
Anthony Jennings completed 18 of 22 pass attempts, and his only turnover came on a tipped ball that wasn't his fault. Past of it was due to the men in front of him.
"At times, I think our pass protection looked much better," Hudspeth stated, but he followed up the positive with a negative. "We've got too many missed assignment right now. We've got to clean that up."
He's referencing the 13 penalties. It was a sloppy game, in terms of yellow pieces of laundry on the field, but he has an idea how them can clean that issue up.
"Some of the false starts, we've got to do a better job of that," Hudspeth admitted. He added, "We've got to enunciate. We've got to be louder."
Pre-snap penalties drive coaches crazy. Hud described their issue as a "sore that keeps festering" over seven weeks, and he wants to find the ointment to cure it.
Whether it is the chemistry up front, Jennings' unfamiliar cadence or any other hidden problems, Hudspeth wants to eliminate self-inflicted injuries. Against Texas State, they didn't have to pay for their problems. The rest of the season, the story won't be the same.
Coaches are paid to look for problems. Coach Hud didn't nitpick his way through his press conference though. He made sure to give credit where credit was due.
The defense against Texas State was excellent. It was one of their best performances in years in Sun Belt Conference play, and Coach Hud gave tons of credit to their front seven and how hard they're working.
"We're rotating a lot of players. We don't have guys that are trudging around the field," Hudspeth said, which is also a testament to the depth his coaching staff recruited. "We have guys going full speed."
In terms of bright spots, nobody shined brighter than Elijah McGuire.
The Cajuns' star running back eclipsed the all-time scoring mark, racking up another record in his illustrious career.
"I'm just honored to say I got a chance to coach Elijah McGuire," Hudspeth said.
There will be time to celebrate McGuire's greatness at the end of the season, but right now, the Cajuns are focused on finishing out the second half of the year.
All the goals are still in sight. Bowl eligibility is a possibility. The Idaho Vandals are the second stepping stone to navigate crossing a deep river, but the current isn't too strong to navigate yet.
After such a dominant win over Texas State, Coach Hud almost wishes they didn't have to wait so long before hitting the road again.
"You would like now to build a little momentum, but this month's schedule is crazy," Hudspeth pointed out.
There are positives and negatives to such a long break. Clearly, it breaks up their flow. If a rolling rock hits a trench, does it stop rolling or does it just halt the acceleration? On a more positive note, it lets the players get back to full strength.
A few players will get back to 100 percent. Wide Receiver Gary Haynes played against the Bobcats, but he was nowhere near his full playmaking capabilities. The rest will do him wonders, along with one of the hearts of the defense, Tracy Walker. Walker is expected to make a full return, but the same can't be said for receiver Ja'Marcus Bradley, who will be a game-time decision.
The Cajuns will need all hands on deck for the final stretch. If they want to keep rowing the boat against a mighty current, it starts against Idaho.
Idaho is led by a senior quarterback, Matt Linehan. He orchestrates the Vandals' offense with an experienced hand, and Hudspeth isn't taking him lightly.
"The guy can really sling it around the park," Hudspeth said. "We're going to get tested in the secondary."
The season is far from over, Cajun Nation. Idaho is coming into town for homecoming, so it's in your best interest to show up and show out.