UL's Jacquet gets a look on both sides in spring game
The first time he lined up against Michael Jacquet on Saturday, Ja’Marcus Bradley didn’t have to do a double-take.
But anyone catching their first glimpse of new UL coach Billy Napier’s Ragin Cajuns football team during Saturday’s spring finale at Cajun Field might have.
Jacquet, like Bradley, is a Cajuns receiver.
But he’s also been playing cornerback this spring, which prompted this back-and-forth after the two went in a drill Saturday.
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“It turned out good — for me,” he said with a little laugh.
“At the end of the rep I one-hand caught it, and looked at him to let him know, like, ‘I’m the real deal.’ Then he just got mad. He wanted to go again. I was like, ‘Nah, one and done.'”
The fact Bradley made the catch was the one thing the two agreed upon.
“It was a great coverage,” he said with a laugh of his own. “And when he caught it with just one hand, he was just staring at me.
“So that kind of aggravated me. After that, I just always said, ‘C’mon, let’s do another rep; let’s do another rep.’ And he always stayed to the back. He didn’t want to go again.”
This wasn’t just springtime follies, however.
The Cajuns, Napier said a few days before the White’s 49-12 win over the Vermilion, are serious about using Jacquet both ways.
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“He’s extremely talented out there at corner, and he’s a good receiver too,” Napier said. “He’s 6-1¼ and in the 190-pound range, and he’s got a good skill set, so I think he’s gonna do a little more of both going forward.”
Loose hips. Physical. Fast. Long and rangy. Football smarts.
Jacquet has, or is, all of that.
“As long as I work on my craft this summer, keep my head down and be humble about everything,” said Jacquet, who had 31 catches for 288 yards and two touchdowns last season, “I should be able to help a lot.”
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On both sides.
It’s not just the skill set, though, that makes Jacquet a candidate at corner too.
It also was a need going into spring camp.
“I think we’ve got some issues outside on the corner that we need to fix,” Napier said Saturday.
“I do think we’ve made ourselves better with Mike Jacquet at corner. I think adding Kendall (Johnson Jr., a St. Thomas More High product who was a two-year starter at cornerback for Nevada) as a midyear transfer has helped us.”
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Johnson, though, has plenty of corner experience.
Not so much.
“Never played corner in my life,” said. “I’ve got to learn how to tackle.”
Jacquet, a quarterback at Beaumont High in Texas, said his potential at corner got noticed by new Cajun coaches when he was working to hold up the gunner on punt return special-team play.
He was all for it.
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“I’m just thankful that the coaches thought of me to be able to play both sides,” he said.
“It’s a work-in-progress. Corner is a little bit more technical … but I’m excited about it.
“If I have a chance to play on the defensive side and get more snaps, and get more film out there (for pro scouts),” he added, “why not?”
“On offense you get a chance to make somebody miss,” Jacquet said. “On defense, you get a chance to make somebody pay.”
One more reason for Jacquet working both sides: The Cajuns are loaded at receiver.
In Saturday’s spring game, Bradley had five catches for 96 yards, Jacquet had one for 39 yards
Keenan Barnes had seven for 67 yards, and 11 others added a combined 21 catches.
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That was without injured starter Ryheem Malone, who’s recovering from minor knee surgery.
“We’re not lacking for guys that can make plays,” Napier said.
Jacquet feels he’s one of them.
But he also feels he can handle both roles without missing a beat. In fact, he suggested Saturday he could play every down if needed.
“I can’t punt or kick,” he said with a smile, “but if I work at it I think I probably could.”
Teammates wouldn’t doubt it.
“Mike’s a baller, man,” said quarterback Levi Lewis, who was 14-of-22 for a game-high 275 yards and two touchdowns. “He fits that form of a DB, but also he can fit the form as wide receiver.
“I’m gonna hold Mike to the things he said he wanted to do. I’m gonna hold him to that, I’m gonna push him.”
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LAGNIAPPE: Four walk-ons — defensive back Deuce Wallace, linebacker Chaiziere Malbrue, running back Ashton Johnson and LSU redshirt-transfer receiver Jalen Williams (four catches for 76 yards and a touchdown) — were awarded scholarships during a special halftime ceremony. … Lenard Calloway ran 17 times for 65 yards and three touchdowns; fellow walk-on running back Clyefer Bass had 12 carries for 40 yards and two TDs. … Injury report: running back Raymond Calais Jr. sustained a groin injury, starting tight end tight end Chase Rogers (11-yard TD catch) rolled an ankle and offensive tackle Robert Hunt (sprained ankle) didn’t play as expected. … Ex-quarterback turned receiver Kadon Harrison had three catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. … Kicker Stevie Artigue was 2-of-3 on field goal attempts, including a made 46-yarder.