March 31, 2014
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech practiced for two hours at Joe Aillet Stadium Monday night as the Bulldogs entered the final two weeks of spring practice.
Monday’s session had a familiar feel as the squad spent a half the practice running through team drills as the coaching staff continues to search for depth in preparation for fall camp with a small roster after the departure of 25 players and several injuries limiting practice reps for key players.
“We have gone in the stadium an awful lot and doing an awful lot of team [drills] right now,” head coach Skip Holtz said. “We have talked a lot about some of the guys that are stepping in new for the first time and I think we need as many team reps as we can get right now. We need team reps for a young quarterback, we need team reps for some of these young wide receivers especially for having as many guys out as we do right now. Paul Turner (hip flexor) has been out for the past couple days and has played a limited role, Hunter Lee is out with a shoulder, Carlos Henderson is out with a wrist injury, Grant Childress just came back today and Sanford Seay was out for a couple days with a knee. It has been hard to get any type of consistency going on the offensive side of the ball.”
As the team continues to build depth and both sides of the ball learn new playbooks - particularly the defense - the secondary continues to make plays in team drills and game-like situations. That is no surprise as the secondary returns all but one starter from last year’s squad.
The search for a starting quarterback continues as Scotty Young and Ryan Higgins continue to battle for the job entering fall camp. The program is expected to release a depth chart at the end of spring practice but all positions will once again be open for competition come fall camp.
“It depends on the day,” Holtz said of which quarterback currently has the upperhand. “You come out here one day and see Scotty Young is dialed in, focused, throws some great balls and I thought he had a great day today. Then you will come back the next day and you’ll say the same thing only about Ryan Higgins. I think right now neither one has taken it [the starting job] but you know they are always going to be the last to come because everyone else has to learn their position but the quarterback has to learn all 22 positions. That is why I talk about managing the game where it is a third and manageable situation out here and we try to throw the deep ball instead of throwing the completion for the first down. That is where we need to start progressing and developing at the quarterback position. It is not about running plays, it is about managing the football game. That is the job of the quarterback and we have to get better at that.”
Following Monday’s practice it was not necessarily the lack of depth at positions that frustrated the coaching staff but the inability of several players to make the basic plays needed to keep the offense moving the ball.
“The frustration is not being able to make any plays,” Holtz said. “There were four or five plays that are big plays, guys are wide open, Scotty Young threw some absolute strikes down the field and the ball gets dropped. We have a lot of walk-ons that are out here for the first time, have an opportunity and are running around. We are not trying to put it all together today; we have a long way to go, but I think that was the biggest frustration today and that was not being able to move the ball. Not because we were getting beat physically as an offense but because we were not able to make the plays that we should make, the routine play. I say all the time, just pick the ball up and throw it to first. If you make the routine play, the other plays will come. We are not trying to be playmakers with the one-hand, over-the-head circus catch. We need to be able to catch the ball that hits us in the sternum.”
Louisiana Tech returns to practice Wednesday afternoon for the 10th practice session of the spring.
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