March 24, 2014
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech practiced for two hours in full pads at Joe Aillet Stadium Monday afternoon with the defense, particularly the secondary, making several big plays throughout the session.
As has been the case with most of the practices through Monday’s session, the defense has been able to make big plays and that unit continued that into Monday.
“I like what I am seeing right now out of the defense,” Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz said. “That back six or seven with the linebackers and secondary has played a lot of football. There is a lot of experience and savvy back there and they are doing a good job.”
The shining spot on the offense through six of 15 practice sessions has been the running back group but that is no surprise as Tevin King and Kenneth Dixon return. Adding to the mix in at tailback is Blake Martin, who made a name for himself last fall, and Marlon Seets, who continues to improve.
“I like what they are doing right now,” Holtz said of the running backs. “I think Tevin King is finally at full speed since I have been here since coming off his ACL injury and it shows with the way he is running. Kenneth Dixon is doing a good job as well. But we are a long way from being the unit that we need to be but I do like the attitude and I like the way they are working together out here.”
“They are but you look out here and you don’t have a center that has taken a snap in a college football game,” Holtz said on the offensive line and quarterbacks performing as expected with two young groups. “You get into scrimmage-like situations and the ball goes over the quarterbacks head and you are wasting everybody’s time. You can’t get anything done. With the quarterbacks there are eight out of 10 plays where they look really good but those two plays - you wonder if they are wearing blindfolds when they are throwing the ball sometimes. We don’t have the consistency that we need to have.”
Monday’s practice marked the first time the offensive line began shuffling players around as guards and tackles began getting reps at other positions, whether it be flipping sides or positions. The coaching staff is looking to get the best five on the field while making sure the limited depth doesn’t negatively affect the position group heading into the season.
“We don’t have a lot of depth so right now we have to cross-train a lot of guys,” said Holtz of the moves up front. “I think we have had about five different guys play center, we have had tackles play left and right, we have had guards play left and right, we have had centers playing guard and vice-versa. We are trying to intermix them all because we are not going to have the depth to have 10 guys. We have to play our five best and I don’t know who those five are going to be yet and what positions they are going to be in. We are trying to move everybody around – it is like tryouts. Everyone is going to get a shot at center until we can find the guy that can step up and take that position.”
While the running backs continue to excel and the offensive line and quarterbacks continue to find the right pieces of the puzzle, the receivers are quietly improving with each practice session.
“I really like what Paul Turner is doing with the speed that he brings,” Holtz said of the LSU transfer that was required to sit out the 2013 season due to NCAA transfer rules. “I think Sanford Seay is a great addition; he is a big, strong, physical wide receiver. Sterling Griffin is feeling more and more comfortable and this is the first [healthy] spring that he has had in about four years and with what he is having the opportunity to go through. I think Trent Taylor is really having a good spring and right now we don’t have Hunter Lee and Carlos Henderson, whom I think have the chance to be two guys that are going to get in the rotation quite a bit for us. When I look at the guys that are out there I think there is a lot more speed than we have had in the past.”
LA Tech will practice twice more again this week with sessions on Wednesday and Friday.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Football, please follow @LATechFB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.