April 3, 2013
RUSTON, La. - Despite the cold and rainy weather, Louisiana Tech was energetic as it held its ninth practice of the spring late Wednesday afternoon at Joe Aillet Stadium.
After the team's last practice - a scrimmage last Wednesday - was marked by inconsistent play and some lethargy on the field, this week's first practice back from Easter break showed an entirely different team. Miscues were still there at times and the weather made catching the ball difficult but the team was as energized and animated as if it was the first practice of the spring.
Quite the opposite reaction many teams have after a long break.
"A lot of times when you give a team five or six days off it is very sluggish and it is very slow," explained head coach Skip Holtz. "But I think the point we made after the scrimmage and having the opportunity to condition at the end of practice helps everybody understand the tempo we want."
The coaching staff, frustrated with the lethargy of last week's scrimmage, had the team run sprints on and off the field to help condition and drive the point of keeping an up-tempo pace at all times. The team responded well Wednesday with a consistent, up-tempo practice despite the conditions.
"I thought they bounced back today," Holtz said. "One of the things you talk about [as a coach] is what you learned about your team today and you learn something every day. Today it was that they are competitive. The way they bounced back today, I was really proud of them for coming out here and competing on a day when it is cold, rainy and wet and they have had a break."
The quarterbacks continued to battle it out with the main competition being between Scotty Young and Ryan Higgins. Both signal callers were listed as an either/or starter as Holtz released a mid-spring depth chart earlier in the day. The coaches indicated the battle for the starting job at quarterback is currently a head heat between the redshirt junior from Denton, Texas (Young) and the redshirt freshman from Hutto, Texas (Higgins).
Louisiana Tech returns to the practice fields Friday afternoon in preparation for Saturday's scrimmage, which is set for a 10 a.m. start at Joe Aillet Stadium.
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Head Coach Skip Holtz
"It was cold today, definitely chilly and a change from where it was when we got out of here [prior to Easter break]. I walked off [last practice] - I wear my emotions on my sleeve a little bit - and I was a little disappointed with our scrimmage last Wednesday in the overall effort, attitude and energy in the practice. It is a standard we talk about and it provided a great teaching opportunity for us to talk about. For them to understand what our expectations are, I thought they bounced back and had a great practice today, especially coming off a break and the weather being what it was today."
"A lot of times when you give a team five or six days off it is very sluggish and it is very slow. But I think the point we made after the scrimmage and having the opportunity to condition at the end of practice helps everybody understand the tempo we want. I thought they bounced back today. One of the things you talk about is what you learned about your team today and you learn something every day. Today it was that they are competitive. The way they bounced back today, I was really proud of them for coming out here and competing on a day when it is cold, rainy and wet and they have had a break."
"We are not evaluating the ball-handling as much right now but just their attitude - was it competitive or did they not want to be here? I thought their attitude was really positive today. I thought they had some energy and they were working through it. Some guys didn't catch the ball the way I'd like them to but we will get a chance to work wet ball drills and those type of things when we get into fall camp."
On the quarterbacks:
"Today we worked red zone where the windows get tighter and we worked more pressure. We probably weren't nearly as accurate and didn't have the completion percentage today that we have been having. Some of those were drops from the weather, reads, pressure, first time plays. These are everyday teaching moments for the offense and the defense. If they come out here and keeping doing what they did today, they will keep getting better."