Know Your Opponent: UL-L

Louisiana-Lafayette, a football program that has experienced a lot of winning and success in recent seasons, comes to Oxford this weekend to face Ole Miss.

Tim Buckley covers the Ragin’ Cajuns for the Daily Advertiser in Lafayette. The Ole Miss Spirit checked in with him on a few things of note.

Spirit: Louisiana Tech beat Louisiana-Lafayette in Lafayette last weekend 48-20. How have the team, coaches, and program handled things since then?

Buckley: “They aren’t used to losing, they aren’t used to losing that bad, and they aren’t used to losing at home. They took it really, really hard, so much so that on Monday Terrance Broadway, the starting quarterback, called a players only meeting. I’ve covered every season of Mark Hudspeth, and there haven’t been many of those I can remember. There might have been some smaller ones. But that’s a pretty big deal and tells you how much they’re stinging from the loss. With Ole Miss Saturday and Boise State the following game, they’re looking at a potential 1-3 start if they don’t get their act together.”

Spirit: How do you think, at 1-1, does this ULL team compare to recent bowl teams Hudspeth has had?

Buckley: “Going into the season they were regarded as potentially that fourth straight bowl team. They were favored unanimously in the coaches’ poll to win the Sun Belt Conference. The reason is they’re stacked with returning seniors, especially with talent on offense. There were high expectations. I don’t think anybody in Lafayette certainly saw coming what Louisiana Tech did to them.”

Spirit: Do you sense this is now a “have to win” type game, rather than it being just simply trying again to knock off a Southeastern Conference team?

Buckley: “What it’s become is they need to go out there and play respectably and at a minimum be a proud-of-what-you-did type situation. Whenever you have a players’ only meeting, they can go one of two ways. They can come together or they can really splinter. If it splinters a couple of days before you play Ole Miss, that could show ugly. They’ve got to get some confidence back going into Boise State so that they don’t have that 1-3 start. Nobody really gave them a shot two years ago when they went down to Florida, granted a down season for Florida, and they came within less than a minute of knocking off the Gators. So I guess you really never know.”

Spirit: Is this, in a way, a more important game for Hudspeth since he is coming back to his home state to coach a football game?

Buckley: “Publicly he’s not trying to play it up at all. He actually joked the other day the only thing (different) he has to worry about is getting tickets for his mother and father, which I wouldn’t think would be a problem. The Cajuns have a whole lot of Mississippi kids on their roster. A lot of them were actually guys Hudspeth had been recruiting for Mississippi State when he was an assistant there before he became head coach here. Two of them are from Oxford High – Terry Johnson, their starting center, and Larry Pettis, their starting tight end. I think they have 17 or so total from Mississippi, and bunch of the starters.”

Spirit: Kinda joking, kinda serious. But is there any revenge factor for the school at any level for Ole Miss baseball having prevented that highly-ranked ULL team from its trip to Omaha at the Super Regional in June?

Buckley: “Actually one of the radio guys down here asked Mark Hudspeth that very question on Monday. He gave a pretty predictable response to it. I would say the baseball loss is one of the least of his concerns.”

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