ULL's backup QB moves to running back

The biggest challenge facing Louisiana-Lafayette this spring was finding a running back to replace Tyrell Fenroy, something the team didn’t do after Fenroy exhausted his eligibility after the 2008 season.

After being one of the top rushing programs from 2004-08, Louisiana-Lafayette slipped to 71st in the country as the Ragin’ Cajuns struggled to find a consistent rushing threat.

Coach Rickey Bustle thought he could solve the problem this spring with Robert Walker, Draylon Booker and Julian Shankle all competing for the starting role, but last week Booker, Walker and reserve Joel Banks were injured during practice. Then Shankle and fullback Yobes Walker were injured during Saturday’s scrimmage, leaving freshman running back Joe Jackson and backup quarterback Brad McGuire as the remaining options in the backfield.

McGuire is no stranger to running back. He played the position in middle school before moving to quarterback, and last year he was the team’s short-yardage specialist as the backup quarterback. He rushed for a team-high seven scores in 2009.

McGuire, a 6-foot-2, 215-pounder, is expected to alternate between running back and fullback through the rest of spring football. He rushed eight times for 13 yards and had three catches for 14 yards in his scrimmage debut Saturday.

The moves actually gives McGuire more time on the field and gives the Ragin’ Cajuns another viable option in the backfield. While already being a rushing threat at the quarterback position, McGuire also could be an option in the Wildcat formation. And McGuire is still one of the team’s top quarterbacks. He completed six of his seven attempts for 71 yards on Saturday.

Chris Masson is the starting quarterback, and with McGuire’s move, sophomore quarterbacks Blaine Gautier and Brady Thomas will get extra reps. Gautier led the scrimmage by completing 10 of 12 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. Masson was 8-of-14 for 100 yards and a score.