Football Practices in Full Pads Friday



March 21, 2014

RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech's football team practiced for two hours in full pads going through several game-like situations Friday afternoon at Joe Aillet Stadium.

The practiced marked the fifth session out of 15 allowed in the spring meaning the program has made it through one-third of the way through spring practice as the team gears up for the T-Day Spring Game on April 12 at noon at Joe Aillet Stadium.

Friday's practice marked a sharp learning curve for the offensive line, a group that is mostly brand new for the second consecutive year after three starters exhausted their NCAA eligibility at the conclusion of the 2013 season.

"Practice was much more of a scrimmage like situation today," head coach Skip Holtz said. "There were a lot of good things. We keep saying that we don't have the consistency [we need] on offense nor on defense as a football team. We've got a couple of new faces up front like Wixson - he struggled with the snaps today and that makes everything look bad. We got Brunson some work at center and just trying to keep moving those guys around to keep bringing them along on the offensive line. But I like the way they are working, I like the way they are running around. These guys are playing hard out here, they are into it."

Part of the offensive struggles the team is facing is due to an experienced secondary that continues to get better with each practice. Last season, the Bulldogs had limited playing experience in the secondary when the season started giving the young pups little time to adjust to the collegiate game. This season after only losing one player to graduation, the unit is a year stronger and a year wiser on the field.

"There is some depth there," Holtz said of the secondary. "We have talked about how one of the big problems we have as a football team is we don't have a lot of depth. But when you look at the secondary, we have three or four cornerbacks that have all played in quality games and conference games, getting meaningful experience. We have four safeties that have all played a lot of football when you talk about Terrell Pinson, Thomas McDonald, Kentrell Brice, Lloyd Grogan and Xavier Woods. You've got a lot of guys that have played. I really like the way the linebackers are coming along with Nick Thomason, Tony Johnson is really doing a good job in there in the middle, Mitch Villemez and Beau Fitte continues to come along. I think they are getting a good grasp of this defense last year."



When it comes the secondary, the light-hearted aspect of practice was marked by watching cornerbacks coach Ronnie Bradford get around the field. Bradford, now in his second year on staff, tore his Achilles' during a football staff basketball game last week and had surgery to repair the tended Tuesday.

"Coach Bradford had a little staff basketball Achilles' injury," Holtz explained. "He had surgery this week and now he is coaching from a golf cart with crutches and a bull horn. The cornerbacks can't get away from him; they can run and they could outrun him before but now they can't outrun him in his golf cart."

The team will have the weekend off and return to practice on Monday, March 24 for the sixth practice session of the spring.

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