Special thanks to Jay Walker, now in his 23rd season as the play-by-play voice of the Ragin’ Cajuns:
PA: Take us through the La. Tech game. I think people who have knowledge of the Cajuns were surprised by that score. Give us a Cliff Notes version of what went wrong and what the Cajuns have to do to improve this week.
Jay: Everything that could go wrong went wrong. Tech came out with an attitude prevalent on the first play when return man Montrell Carter was hammered at the 15 yard line. I don’t think the Cajuns ever matched LT’s intensity. They gave up four plays of 32 yards or more that set up scores. Jamal Robinson, the Cajuns’ biggest outside playmaker, went down early with an ankle injury and didn’t return. RB Elijah McGuire tweaked a muscle as well. Then down 24-7, the Cajuns turned it over three times, which made it a blowout.
PA: How much do the Cajuns rely on the run game? Looks like a nice mix of power and speed at running back and a good athlete at quarterback.
Jay: The Cajuns have to run the football to be successful. Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire were both first team All-Sun Belt last year, combining for nearly 1800 yards rushing. Harris is a big bruising back. McGuire is elusive with great speed. When they are clicking, it makes QB Terrance Broadway that much more effective, both as a passer and runner.
PA: What are the defensive strengths of this team, and who are some of its leading play-makers?
Jay: I think the strength on the defense is up front. Justin Hamilton and Christian Ringo are both run stoppers and good pass rushers. Hybrid linebacker Dominique Tovell is all over the field. And FS Trev Patt can make plays as well.
PA: What has been Mark Hudspeth’s message to the team this week after a disappointing loss?
Jay: Put it behind you and go back to work. Easier said than done I’m sure. But Monday he and the players at his press luncheon all said “That one is over…now it’s time to concentrate on Ole Miss.”
PA: What is Hudspeth’s contract status, and is there a sense that the school has to repeatedly fend off people trying to hire him?
Jay: Hudspeth signed a 6 year contract extension a couple of months ago with a base salary of $950,000, the largest contract in Sun Belt history. He likes it here. His wife loves it here. I think it would take a place where Hud thinks he could win a national championship in order to take him away. I used to think Mississippi State would be THE job. Now I’m not so sure. And, he has a diminishing buyout. If he leaves in the first two years, it’s going to cost him a lot of money.
PA: Attendance has been strong at home games. Tell us a little about the game day atmosphere in Lafayette and what tailgaiting is like.
Jay: Tailgating is outrageous. In order to get a tailgating spot, you have to be a season ticket holder, a member of the Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation and pay for the tailgating spot as well. Hundreds are on the waiting list to get a spot. There’s always a live band playing on game day and the party starts early and ends late. Sometimes very late.