Louisiana football quarterback race between Chandler Fields, Ben Wooldridge 'still close'

LAFAYETTE — Ben Wooldridge and Chandler Fields’ talents and skill sets are nearly identical.

Their biggest difference is in their mentality, and it’s there where Louisiana football coach Michael Desormeaux, a former UL quarterback himself, will ultimately find his starting quarterback.

The competition remains as hot as ever between Fields and Wooldridge following the Ragin’ Cajuns’ first team scrimmage of preseason practice Saturday afternoon inside the Leon Moncla Indoor Practice Facility. The pair have battled since spring practice, neither giving up as much an inch.

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Louisiana Ragin Cajuns QB Chandler Fields throws in pre-game warmups before the Ragin Cajuns' annual Vermilion and White Spring Game at Cajun Field in Lafayette, Louisiana on April 09, 2022.
Louisiana Ragin Cajuns QB Chandler Fields throws in pre-game warmups before the Ragin Cajuns' annual Vermilion and White Spring Game at Cajun Field in Lafayette, Louisiana on April 09, 2022.

“Ben does things exactly by the book, Chandler has a little bit more creativity in him,” Desormeaux said following the scrimmage. “At the same time, Chandler takes a few more chances and does some things that Ben doesn’t do. For us it’s the consistency. If its Chandler, is he taking those chances in positions where we can afford them? Is he being smart with those opportunities? With Ben, he’s got to operate consistently because he’s doing it; if it’s cloudy is he more hesitant? Is he playing with a lot of accuracy?"

Desormeaux knew entering preseason practice that Wooldridge, the junior Fresno State transfer who has been with the program 18 months now, and Fields, the sophomore who was the primary backup quarterback last season, would perform well enough to make it a tough decision for him and offensive coordinator Tim Leger.

Where the quarterbacks will separate themselves, Desormeaux said, will be in technique, eye progression and execution of Louisiana’s offense. Leger put both signal-callers in plenty of situations during UL’s scrimmage to have those sequences on films for the staff to review, and Desormeaux added he was pleased watching Wooldridge and Fields live.

“You got to go into the technique and the eye progression: Are they doing it the right way? You can’t get it caught up in the result, a completion is a completion in the game,” Desormeaux said. “But when you get to that point, you want guys to process the way they need to process because at some point, you’ll get fooled if you’re skipping steps along the way.”

The reality is the 2022 season rapidly approaches. The Cajuns kick off against Southeastern Louisiana at Cajun Field in three Saturdays.

Desormeaux said back at Sun Belt Media Days that he’d like have UL’s starting quarterback identified by the start of classes, which is Aug. 22.

But it looks like the quarterback race between Fields and Wooldridge will carry beyond next Saturday’s final preseason scrimmage and less than two weeks before the season opener.

“It’s still close. It’s going to be a full body of work getting through this thing,” Desormeaux said.

“I’m completely comfortable playing out through the end of camp because we still have two weeks to say this is our guy. This is who we’re going to go with.”

Cory Diaz covers the LSU Tigers and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for The Daily Advertiser as part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow his Tigers and Cajuns coverage on Twitter: @ByCoryDiaz. Got questions regarding LSU/UL athletics? Send them to Cory Diaz at

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: UL football QB race between Ben Wooldridge, Chandler Fields 'still close'