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Ragin' Cajun Spring Preview Part I: Offensive Questions Loom Large For Louisiana

Taking a look at the questions coach Hudspeth hopes to have answered about his offense after spring ball is done.

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Mark Hudspeth's Ragin' Cajuns are set to kick off spring drills later this afternoon, but this spring will be different from any other spring Mark Hudspeth has ever had at Louisiana. For the first time, the Cajuns will go through spring practice without three year starting quarterback Terrance Broadway. Who replaces Broadway is just one of many questions the Cajuns will need to answer this spring. The Cajuns will cap off spring drills with the annual Red-White Spring Game on March 28th. Now let's look at some of the questions that the Louisiana offense will look to answer this spring.

Who wants to play quarterback?

Without a doubt the biggest question mark facing Louisiana in 2015 will be who replaces Terrence Broadway at quarterback.  As the Cajuns kick off spring ball, three quarterbacks will audition in front of the Louisiana coaching staff all with hopes of stealing the show. Junior's Brooks Haack and Jalen Nixon along with redshirt freshman Jordan Davis will get reps this spring. Coach Hud has said that all three will get ample time to prove why they should be the next Cajun quarterback. Haack has served as Broadway's primary backup over the past two seasons, but both Haack and Nixon have seen some playing time. Davis served as the Cajuns number three quarterback while Nixon was ineligible during the first half 2014 and Louisiana was prepared to burn his redshirt if the need ever arose. Thankfully for Cajun fans, Hudspeth and staff were able to preserve that redshirt. True freshman Dion Ray is also enrolled and will partake in drills this spring.

#

Name

Class

Height

Weight

3

Jordan Davis

Redshirt Freshman

6-3

185

6

Jalen Nixon

Redshirt Junior

6-2

226

7

Dion Ray

Freshman

6-0

200

9

Brooks Haack

Redshirt Junior

6-1

219

Career Stats

#

Name

Completions

Touchdowns

Interceptions

6

Jalen Nixon

7-13

1

1

9

Brooks Haack

41-58

3

1

Will Elijah McGuire be forced to carry the load alone?

Louisiana must replace four year starter Alonzo Harris at running back, and it will be no small task. Thankfully the Cajuns do have the returning Sun Belt Player of the Year to lean on, but it was partially the bruising inside running of Harris that allowed McGuire to enjoy the success that he did. It's very important that the Cajuns find someone to fill the role now vacated by Harris' graduation. Look for seniors Effrem reed and Torrey Pierce to fight it out for the number two spot. Both have seen action over the years for Louisiana but neither offers the size of a true "big" back. Senior speedster Montrel Carter will also get a chance to show his skills this spring. But also look for early enrollee Walter Williams to get a chance to prove he's capable of stepping in and playing as a true freshman.

#

Name

Class

Height

Weight

3

Montrel Carter

Redshirt Senior

5-10

195

15

Elijah McGuire

Junior

5-11

198

25

Torrey Pierce

Redshirt Senior

5-9

170

26

Effrem Reed

Redshirt Senior

5-8

193

36

Walter Williams

Freshman

6-0

211

39

Cardaye Spencer

Redshirt Freshman

5-8

195

Career Stats

#

Name

Rush

Yards

YPC

TD

Catches

Yards

YPC

TD

3

Montrel Carter

23

132

5.73

1

1

-4

-4

0

15

Elijah McGuire

269

2156

8.01

22

67

852

12.7

5

25

Torrey Pierce

100

499

4.99

5

11

88

8

0

26

Effrem Reed

125

632

5.06

6

23

226

9.8

2

Find Two New Starters Upfront

As SB Nation's Bill Connelly pointed out Louisiana completed the rarest of rare feats in 2014. The Cajuns started the same five offensive linemen for the entire season, stop and think about that...simply amazing. But come opening day 2015, the Cajuns will see if they can start a 13 game streak with a few new faces. The Cajuns must replace right guard Daniel Quave and his 52 career starts and also find a new center to replace Terry Johnson who started 26 games for Louisiana. Mykhael Quave, Octravian Anderson and Donovan Williams are the three returning senior starters. This spring, O-line coach Mitch Rodrigue will plenty of candidates looking to fill in for Quave and Johnson, as the Cajuns will carry 16 offensive lineman on the roster.

#

Name

Class

Height

Weight

53

Ian Bjuro

Sophomore (JC)

6-3

270

55

Karmichael Dunbar

Redshirt Junior

6-2

317

60

D'Aquin Withrow

Redshirt Sophomore

6-6

275

64

Nick Dugger

Redshirt Freshman

6-5

300

65

Jesse Freeman

Redshirt Freshman

6-4

311

68

Octravian Anderson

Redshirt Senior

6-4

295

69

Greg Siener

Redshirt Senior

6-4

280

70

Mykhael Quave

Redshirt Senior

6-5

295

71

Noah Marks

Redshirt Freshman

6-5

330

72

Grant Horst

Redshirt Sophomore

6-5

260

73

Ethan Rosenbalm

Redshirt Junior

6-6

309

74

Drew Moore

Redshirt Freshman

6-3

265

76

Adrian Goodacre

Redshirt Freshman

6-4

325

77

Donovan Williams

Senior (JC)

6-3

315

78

Allen Cummins

Redshirt Sophomore

6-0

239

79

Eddie Gordon

Senior (JC)

6-1

320

Will anyone step up at wide receiver?

It's no secret that the Louisiana passing game struggled for much of the 2014 season. That was especially true after Jamal Robinson was lost for the year. But thankfully for Jamal, Cajun fans and the new quarterback Robinson will be back in 2015. However Louisiana can not rely on Robinson alone. This spring, the Cajuns must have someone at receiver step up. There were flashes in 2014 from guys like Jared Johnson and Devin Scott but, the Cajuns have got to turn those flashes into consistent productivity. The good news is that the slot seems to be in good hands between Al Riles and Gabe Fuselier. However if Louisiana is to be successful in the fall, several receivers must set up and prove they can make plays during this spring.

#

Name

Class

Height

Weight

2

Al Riles

Junior

5-10

209

4

Jamal Robinson

Redshirt Senior

6-4

205

7

Jared Johnson

Redshirt Junior

6-5

215

13

Gabe Fuselier

Sophomore

5-11

175

17

Lance Pace

Redshirt Junior

5-9

179

18

Devin Scott

Junior

5-11

180

21

C.J. Bates

Junior (JC)

6-1

200

22

Scott Austin

Redshirt Sophomore

6-4

199

23

Darius Hoggins

Redshirt Sophomore

5-7

165

24

Lorenzo Cryer

Redshirt Freshman

6-2

185

46

Jerrell Richardson

Redshirt Junior

5-8

178

82

Christian Umphries

Redshirt Sophomore

5-10

171

Career Stats

#

Name

Catches

Yards

YPC

TD

2

Al Riles

34

354

10.41

1

4

Jamal Robinson

95

1752

18.44

15

7

Jared Johnson

16

161

10.06

3

13

Gabe Fuselier

30

264

8.80

2

17

Lance Pace

2

10

5

0

18

Devin Scott

6

124

20.67

0

21

C.J. Bates

12

167

13.92

1

Can the tight ends become more involved in the passing game?

Larry Pettis saw playing time from the moment he stepped on campus as part of Mark Hudspeth's first recruiting class in 2011. Pettis proved to be a solid end line blocker, but the position lacked the ability to consistently get open over the middle. Offensive coordinator Jay Johnson's offense is at its best when the tight ends are able to open between the hashes. This spring, Louisiana will be looking for Nick Byrne, Matthew Barnes or Evan Tatford to give the Cajun offense the middle of the field presence it lacked in 2014.

#

Name

Class

Height

Weight

10

Matthew Barnes

Sophomore

6-3

229

81

Nick Byrne

Junior

6-4

228

84

Jacob Beasley

Redshirt Sophomore

6-4

245

88

Evan Tatford

Redshirt Senior

6-5

235

Career Stats

#

Name

Catches

Yards

YPC

TD

10

Matthew Barnes

1

4

4

0

81

Nick Byrne

6

33

5.5

0

88

Evan Tatford*

10

91

9.1

0

*includes stats while playing at Tulane (2011-12)