McGuire prepares to perform his role

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Associated Press

Posted on August 24, 2011 at 9:36 AM

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Pinched between a foot injury and a thumb injury, Brad McGuire managed to play in four games last season.

He served as UL's backup quarterback and starting H-back for three of the four, and opened the other — a loss at Ole Miss — at QB when usual starter Chris Masson was injured and out as well.

And when Masson went down in the opening series of a loss at Ohio one week before the Ole Miss game, McGuire entered and completed 25-of-39 passes for 384 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for another 33 yards on 22 carries and led the Ragin' Cajuns to 417 yards of total offense — the fifth-highest total in school history.

But as Masson and Blaine Gautier fight for the starting job under Mark Hudspeth in 2011, McGuire is doing just about everything but taking snaps.

Yet even while those other two battle, the new UL head coach is counting on the 6-foot-2, 225-pounder nonetheless.

"Brad is going to be our third-team quarterback. But he is gonna be playing everything," Hudspeth said of the graduated senior from Gulf Breeze, Fla.

"He's on every special team. He's our H-back. He plays, basically, a wide position sometimes, and running back sometimes, fullback. He's gonna be a big part of our plan."

Hudspeth previously chose his offensive line and defensive secondary starters heading into UL's Sept. 3 season opener at Oklahoma State, but — even beyond quarterback — he still must make plenty of important personnel decisions.

He said he's settled on his starting outside linebackers in Devin Lewis-Buchanan and Le'Marcus Gibson, but "inside linebacker we're not where we need to be yet."

"Trae Johnson and Lance Kelly are probably looking better than the (others) right now," Hudspeth said. "(Jake) Molbert, Alonzo Harris and Richard Brooks are the other three we'd like to come on a little bit more."

As for his running backs, Hudspeth said sophomore Aaron Spikes is "still a little bit ahead, because he's in a little better condition (and) he knows the offense little better," but Alonzo Harris, Qyendarius Griffin and Rob Walker "are working hard and will play also."

Hudspeth also said receiver James Butler has been "lost "“ for a few days" due to an undisclosed injury, but he's "hoping" to have him ready for the OSU game.

After scrimmaging them Saturday, having Fan Day on Sunday and giving them Monday off for the start of classes, Hudspeth wasn't especially impressed with what he saw from his Cajuns on Tuesday.

"I thought we (were) a little sluggish coming off a couple days off, then school, and probably weren't quite ready to get back into the grind," he said. "But we pushed through it, and hopefully got better in some areas."

Conditioning, primarily in the form of short sprints, was a chief focus Tuesday.

"We conditioned at the beginning of practice, and we conditioned again at the end of practice," said Hudspeth said. "Our whole deal is for us to be a great fourth-quarter team "“ you have to prepare for it.'

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