March 17, 2010
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech's football team hit the practice fields Wednesday for the first time this spring as new head coach Sonny Dykes began implementing his game plan for the Bulldogs. The team practiced at Joe Aillet Stadium Wednesday afternoon for over two hours as spring ball began.
The team learned about one-third of the offensive game plan in the first practice of the spring session and Dykes was able to watch the players work out in a practice and game situations for the first time in his tenure at Louisiana Tech.
"I thought we bounced around, practiced hard and really concentrated well today," Dykes said. "I was really pleased for the first day. It's like I told them [the team], we set the bar high today and we need to keep building on it. We made a lot of mistakes - millions of mistakes - but we'll get those cleaned up. The thing I liked was the effort, I thought it was tremendous. I liked the way we worked and focused. I liked the way we practiced today."
Dykes and the new coaching staff introduced part of the new offense, a spread attack that will often be in a no-huddle situation. Many other elements were introduced, including a new system of practicing. During off periods, for instance, wide receivers were on the sideline trying to catch tennis balls shot out of a machine in order to improve their ability to catch a football.
As the offense began to learn an entirely new system, the defense took advantage and showcased some of the talent that it possesses.
"I thought our defense looked solid," commented Dykes. "They knew what to do and it showed we have some speed on that side of the ball. I think we have a lot of skill, offensively. That is one thing that I have been really impressed with: the number of skill position players that we have with a lot of talent. Now, they are raw. We will have to do a really good job of developing them and bringing them along, but we have some guys that have a chance to be pretty exciting players."
Dykes was introduced as the newest head coach earlier this year and is beginning his first spring practice not only as head coach at Louisiana Tech but in the first head coaching stint of his career. He looked at ease in the new position, having to look at every piece of the puzzle rather than focusing on only one or two positions.
"It's different because you get so focused on details when you are a coordinator," said Dykes. "When you're the head coach, you try to see more of the big picture. I used to be almost completely focused on what the quarterbacks were doing and now I was trying to see what was going on with the offensive line and what was happening with receivers and trying to watch the defense as well. It's kind of all over the place. Usually, I'd walk of the field knowing exactly how the quarterbacks practiced but in this case, I'm not really sure. I know a little bit about how the offensive line did, how the linebackers did, how the secondary played - a little bit about every position. It's going to be a little bit of an adjustment but it is something I'm looking forward to."
The team returns to practice on Friday at 4 p.m. at Joe Aillet Stadium and fans that came out Wednesday should expect to see more of the same during the next practice.
"Friday's practice will pretty much be the same thing," Dykes explained. "That's the good thing about practicing the way we do - you can do it with pads, with no shoulder pads, with whatever. We can come out and get good work regardless of how we are dressed."
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