Hudspeth: criticism ‘unjust’

Mark Hudspeth is the head coach of the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.

Dear Ms. de la Rosa,

I recently was made aware of the article that you wrote in the January 15th edition of The Vermilion, in which you voice a very negative opinion towards Terrance Broadway and myself for our efforts in the recent victory over Tulane in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.  Let me begin by saying that you can criticize me all you want.  I am a grown adult and skeptics come with the job.

The last three years have been the best three years in the 112-year history of football at this outstanding institution.  We have won 27 games, earned a share of the 2013 Sun Belt Conference championship and been one of six schools in the country to win bowl games in each of the last three seasons.  More importantly, we are 14-2 at home during that time and risen the level of support from Cajun Nation to an unprecedented level.

I respect that you have the right to your opinion, but I am proud of what this program has accomplished, and I know we are capable of even bigger and better things.

What I am disappointed about are your comments regarding the performance of quarterback Terrance Broadway.  Instead of telling the world the story of the tremendous amount of “courage” and “leadership” that Terrance displayed by playing less than three weeks removed from having a steel plate put in his arm, you criticized him for a sub-par performance.

Terrance risked further injury — and a potential professional career — because he wanted to go out on the field with “Louisiana” across his chest and lead his (and your) university to victory. That story is nothing short of incredible.

You criticized Terrance’s running ability in the game, noting that he gained 21 yards on 14 carries.  What you didn’t mention was that Tulane featured one of the best defenses that we had played against all season, which led to Terrance being sacked several times, which resulted in 29 yards lost against his rushing total.  That meant that Terrance actually gained 50 yards on his other 10 carries, knowing full well that for every step he took with the ball, he was risking further injury.

Earlier this fall I welcomed you inside the football program and allowed you to spend a day seeing first hand the dedication and commitment that the Ragin’ Cajuns players go through to represent your university at the highest of levels nationally.  I had hoped that this would give you an insight to the program that few media members get.  Unfortunately, I think the experience was lost on you.

There were a number of media events in the two weeks leading up to the New Orleans Bowl, and I don’t remember seeing you present at any of them.  I also don’t recall taking a question from you at the post-game press conference, otherwise, you would have heard the praise from both teams for Terrance’s effort and how it positively impacted the game.

Instead, it was disappointing to see the editor of our own campus newspaper, unfairly criticize Terrance’s accomplishment in leading his team, university and community to a third straight bowl victory.  I am not sure what more he could have done.

I’ve learned many things during my coaching career, one of which is to be thoroughly prepared anytime I step on the football field.  I do my homework on subjects that I don’t know enough about.  I offer this as advice to you as you embark on your career.  Had you done your homework on this story, you would have recognized the enormity of Terrance’s performance against Tulane.

I have been coaching for two decades now and I can honestly say that I have never experienced a sacrifice like the one that Terrance made against Tulane.  It was incredible.  I wish I could have been as impressed with your story.  Unfortunately, I gave it a strong D-, with the curve.

Geaux Cajuns…Fight On!!

Mark Hudspeth