News and Notes: Two Cajuns to have season-ending surgeries; Lynn Williams to be honored

Nick Fontenot
Special to the Advertiser

UL coach Billy Napier announced Wednesday that senior Ken Marks and junior Johnny Lumpkin will have season-ending surgeries.

“Both of those injuries have proved to be significant,” said Napier. “We gave it a little time to see if they could get better, but they’re not. Both will have surgery soon and our thoughts are with them.”

Both Lumpkin, a tight end who has been sidelined with a separated shoulder since summer workouts, and Marks, an offensive guard who started last Saturday against Mississippi State but had to be helped off the field after a second-quarter injury, will be eligible for a sixth season. Napier said he spoke to both players, and they said they are on board with returning to the Cajuns next season.

With Marks out, look for Max Mitchell to see significant time at guard as well as sliding over to spell Rico Robinson at tackle.

“Max has played all over the place all through camp,” Napier said. “When you have an injury sometimes you’re all down in the dumps. If you have the right perspective, it becomes an opportunity to work on contingency plans that come up when the season gets here. Max took many reps at left guard and he slid in there and played guard when Ken went down (last Saturday).”

More:Cajuns shuffling tight ends


Raymond Calais touched the ball 11 times and picked up 95 all-purpose yards Saturday against Mississippi State. A lot has been made about perhaps getting Calais more involved in the Cajuns’ offensive game plan.

That could be easier said than done with Calais, of course, as he's sharing a loaded backfield with Trey Ragas and Elijah Mitchell, but Napier said getting the ball to Calais — especially in space — is always on his mind.

“Raymond is a guy that in the back of my head, I want to make sure he gets his opportunities every week,” Napier said. “Sometimes as coaches, we get caught up in the play, but sometimes, we need to just get it to the right player; ‘4’ is on that list and we want to make sure he gets his touches every week.”

More:Ragin' Cajuns' backfield loaded with talent

More:UL running backs contribute variety of talents to Cajuns backfield


Lynn Williams, who served as UL’s equipment manager from 1985 until his death this past March, will have the Cajuns’ Athletics Equipment Room officially named after him on Friday.

Williams will be honored inside the equipment room at the Donald & Janice Mosing Student-Athlete Performance Center, according to an announcement from the university. 

More:UL equipment manager Williams: A pro who liked to play


Napier said the emphasis moving forward for the Cajuns is play with an edge. He said he has challenged the team to find that edge and take responsibility for each assignment, nor matter how big or small.

“We need every player, no matter their role, having the right disposition about you and playing with an edge,” he said. “We have lots of players that are improving, but we have lots in a mental battle with themselves. We have a lot of young players going through some things that young players go through, but we are excited to be getting out onto Cajun Field and representing this community.”

Napier said he knows the Cajuns need to play with more discipline than they did in Saturday’s 38-28 loss to Mississippi State. He said a lot of the mistakes that happened were uncharacteristic of his team and most of those things won’t be happening again.

“Some of those plays were fluke plays that we hope we never see again,” Napier said. “That is not the way we want to play football. I think as an offensive group, we understand that. This is a game where turnovers are usually the difference in the game and certainly Saturday, they were a big deal.”

UL Head Coach Billy Napier discusses stategy with his staff in the football game between UL and Mississippi State University at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 31, 2019.