La. Tech Bulldogs reach halfway point of Spring practices

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RUSTON, La. (March 30, 2019) – Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz and the Bulldog Football team closed out the first half of spring practices on Friday afternoon at Joe Aillet Stadium with the team’s first official scrimmage.

The Bulldogs are scheduled to return to the gridiron for practice No. 9 on Monday afternoon to continue preparation for the 2019 season. Spring practice will officially conclude with the LA Tech Spring Game, which is set for noon on Saturday, April 13 at Joe Aillet Stadium.

Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz spoke with the media Friday following the team’s first scrimmage of the spring.

HEAD COACH SKIP HOLTZ

Opening thoughts on the first scrimmage: 

“I was encouraged in some spots and we’ve got a ways to go in others. This scrimmage was not a review of our offense or our defense. We have a lot of young guys. We’ve got some new guys. We have guys that haven’t played football in a year because they’ve been redshirted, so this was a base scrimmage. I’d say it’s two plus two is four. We did not blitz, stunt, twist. We played base football on defense and base plays on offense. What we’re trying to find is just if you can go out and execute. Who can block, who can tackle, who knows what to do. I don’t want there to be a lot of confusion. This wasn’t about scheme. There’s going to be a hat on a hat. Can you block everybody? Can we make a play defensively? Can we get off the block and make a tackle? It was not about the scheme on either side. It was an individual scrimmage. We will evaluate this one not as where we are as an offense or where we are as a defense. We only went about 60 plays today, but I thought we got some good work in the field. Everything was first and 10. We got some good goal work in at the end.” 

“Overall, I am encouraged. We are healthy. We came out of the scrimmage healthy, which is always where you take your biggest sigh of relief because an injury slows down the development of your football team. And so staying healthy through the scrimmage was a big part of it. I’m excited that we were able to stay healthy and then just really to get back, grade the film, get with the players and see what improvements we can make off of it. Next week we’ll have a scrimmage that’s going to be a big part of where we are as an offense and where we are as a defense. Then it is time to see who of the young guys can start playing. We’re not going to be able to roll the threes as much. You start putting your ones and twos together a little bit more and start putting that depth chart together.”

On who stood out:

“There were some guys that made some individual plays, but when you watch it from the stands somebody might’ve broken two long runs, but he might have three missed assignments. You’ve got to look at it. I’m going to have to really grade the film before I can say whether I really liked this guy and what he did. I thought there were some flashes. Obviously, I like Smoke Harris with the ball under his arm. I think Wayne Toussant was doing some good things. Those are a couple of young receivers. Tahj Magee’s doing a really nice job. This is the first time in a long time Isaiah Graham has been able to get some live work. I thought those guys got great work. I feel really good about the four guys in the secondary. Those are three juniors and a senior that have played a lot of football, but we’ve got some guys that did really well. But I think we’ll find out where we are as an offense and a defense in about a week. There were some good individual efforts, but I can’t look at the whole picture yet. There were too many penalties on offense with it being the first time you’ve got officials and things like that. We are a long way away from putting it all together.”

On missing receivers due to injury:

“Adrian (Hardy) has a hamstring that we are being careful with right now so we don’t pull it. And George (Scott) is turf toe, so he has missed this week, but we are trying to shoot for Monday to have him back.”

On younger guys filling in for receivers: 

“It is huge for them and they are one snap away from playing that role in the fall when you talk about Praise (Okorie), Wayne (Toussant), Griffin Hebert, Tahj (Magee) – all those young guys we just talked about. They are rolling with the ones and the twos and getting a lot of reps. If they take advantage of it and continue to improve then they have a chance to play a huge role for us in the fall.”

On the addition of DL Kevin Murphy:

“We are excited that he is joining us and he is a great young man. He’s played a lot of football. He brings a toughness at a position right now where we just graduated six players that walked out on our defensive line. You’ve got guys like Courtney Wallace, Ka’Derrion Mason and those guys that are coming along, but we still need depth up there. I think Steven Shaw, D.J. Jackson and those guys are doing a nice job and growing and coming along, but I also think it’s going to be nice to have a seasoned vet coming in that brings a toughness and a mindset up front which we desperately need as a big-bodied interior defensive lineman.”

On graduate transfers:

“I think the first couple years they weren’t a huge part of what we did, but they were the key positions when you take two quarterbacks in two years and they’re very visible. So it’s not that now we don’t want them, but they’ve got to be the right fit. When he played for Coach Diaco and Coach Diaco knows exactly what he brings to the table. He knows what he’s walking into in the defense with Coach Diaco, so I think there’s just a lot of natural fits and if it doesn’t fit then I don’t want to bring somebody in here that’s going to upset what we’re trying to build and how we tried to do it. He’ll be here for summer.”

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