Louisiana Tech Focuses on Game Plan Installation Friday
April 5, 2013
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech spent most of its 10th spring practice focusing on game plan installation and working on fundamentals as the team practiced in shells in advance of their second spring scrimmage. The team worked out in Joe Aillet Stadium Friday afternoon for over two hours.
The detailed but not too physical workout was designed with the team preparing to hold its second scrimmage of the spring beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at Joe Aillet Stadium for the 11th session of the spring in what will be a physical scrimmage with more of a game-like feel. The first scrimmage featured eight-play drives regardless of the outcome of the first down conversions while Saturday's session will not have that security built in for the offense.
"Saturday's scrimmage will be a little bit more like a game - if you don't make a first down, they are off the field. They won't have the play segments like we had in the first scrimmage," head coach Skip Holtz explained.
The scrimmage Saturday will give the coaching staff another opportunity to evaluate Scotty Young and Ryan Higgins, two players that are battling in a virtual dead heat for the starting quarterback position. Both have had good and bad moments and Holtz says consistency will be the key to whomever wins the starting job.
"Consistency has been the thing that has been lacking," Holtz said of the quarterbacks. "They both have had some really good days and they both have had some really bad days. Obviously the quarterback position is the hardest ... They have to know what 22 guys on the field are doing. It takes a little bit longer to develop that position, especially not having anybody with any legitimate experience there. We really have very little game experience coming back at that position. That is the biggest thing I am looking for is the consistency out of the quarterback."
The first scrimmage also left the coaching staff wanting in terms of energy, enthusiasm and a level of play, something they were very quick to show the players after the two-hour scrimmage session ended. Since then, the team has bounced back with an exemplary level of play in the following two practices and Holtz expects to see the same Saturday morning.
"I think it is a standard that we talked about practice number one," said Holtz. "It is a standard and it is an expectation level of what we are going to do when we take the field with the effort and the energy that we are going to play with. I think they understand what we want a little bit better now than they did after the first scrimmage. We will see where we are. They have had two better practices after the scrimmage last Wednesday and let's see if we can carry it over into the scrimmage tomorrow."
Saturday's scrimmage is open to the public and will be the team's 11th spring session out of a maximum 15 allotted by the NCAA. The spring practices wrap up on Saturday, April 13 with the T-Day Spring Game at 1 p.m.
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Head Coach Skip Holtz
"We had kind of a light workout before the scrimmage tomorrow, trying to bring them out here and get a little bit of good work with the shoulder pads on and then we took the shoulder pads off to polish it up at the very end. This far into [spring practice], it starts to become a little bit more about the offense and the defense and not so much about the individual. We are still going to evaluate every player on every play for depth chart purposes but at the same time we have to start to put the offense together and the defense together."
"Saturday's scrimmage will be a little bit more like a game - if you don't make a first down, they are off the field. They won't have the play segments like we had in the first scrimmage."
"This is the second test of three as we get into this spring practice. I have been pleased with a lot of the progress that some positions have been making. We talked a little bit after the first scrimmage how some of the positions that I felt were still a little bit behind. This will be a great opportunity to see how much progress we have made in a week. They are working hard, they have been pretty focused and pretty dialed in up to this point."
On the quarterbacks:
"Consistency has been the thing that has been lacking. They both have had some really good days and they both have had some really bad days. Obviously the quarterback position is the hardest one because if I am a receiver I learn to run a curl, if I am at tackle I learn to block the end but at quarterback I have to know who is hot, who is not being blocked up front, what everybody is running, what the coverage is - they have to know what 22 guys on the field are doing. It takes a little bit longer to develop that position, especially not having anybody with any legitimate experience there. We really have very little game experience coming back at that position. That is the biggest thing I am looking for is the consistency out of the quarterback.
"We have talked about the receiver play being another position we need to improve on and we are challenging the heck out of those guys to make some plays one-on-one on the perimeter. I think it is getting better but we are going to find out how much progress we have made tomorrow. We put a lot of emphasis on these scrimmages as evaluations."
"For a guy that hasn't played at all, he is a relative unknown. He didn't play last year and to have him come out and show some flashes as a young player, he really has a great opportunity to make a contribution on this team for this fall."
On the defense:
"The inexperience o the linebackers and the secondary - the same thing we talked about as with the receivers - the skill positions on defense is where I want to see consistency to understand where we are. We need to understand that, for example, when we give up a post, the whole defense gets hurt. You can have 10 guys do what they are supposed to do but one guy can give up a deep ball and the whole defense just gave up 50 yards. We have to do a better job of keeping the ball in front of us. That is where tomorrow is about no longer it being that one individual gave that up, it is about the whole defense just gave that up. Tomorrow is more about evaluating us as an offense and a defense rather than just individuals."
On the level of play expected:
"I think it is a standard that we talked about practice number one. It is a standard and it is an expectation level of what we are going to do when we take the field with the effort and the energy that we are going to play with. I think they understand what we want a little bit better now than they did after the first scrimmage. We will see where we are. They have had two better practices after the scrimmage last Wednesday and let's see if we can carry it over into the scrimmage tomorrow."
On the offensive line:
"I am not necessarily looking at who is our starting right guard or who is our starting left tackle right now. When you get into a season, you may have to move someone from guard to tackle because you may get three injuries and a guard has to play tackle or a guard has to play center. So we just want to find out now while we are in spring to move them around and find out where the best places are for these moving pieces. I think a guy like Jeremy Graffree has had a great spring. For someone who has not played very much since he has been here, his attitude and his work habits, the way he has bounced back from that Achilles injury and just the energy with the way he is playing right now - he is certainly not perfect - but I don't think there is anybody working any harder out here or giving more effort than he is right now. You can tell how bad he wants it and he wants to be good. He is putting in the extra time and as a senior that is the type of commitment you are looking for. He played guard in the first scrimmage and we wanted to find out and get an evaluation of if he can play tackle. For guys like that it is going to go a long way with their cross training in the fall.
On Graffree stepping up with an inexperienced line losing four starters:
"Really a fifth one with [Matt] Shepperd not going through spring. Really right now we don't have anybody with any legitimate game experience on that offensive line. Having seniors like [Larry] Banks move into guard from the tackle position and Graffree move out to tackle from the guard position, to have Alec [Davis] do what he is doing at the center position and to have some of these seniors step in there is going to go a long way. Especially when we get guys back like Shepperd and [Vince] Cano, two seniors who are missing spring practice."
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