April 7, 2010
RUSTON, La. - The offense and defense traded a pair of big plays during the team period as Louisiana Tech's football team worked out in helmets and shoulder pads at Joe Aillet Stadium Wednesday afternoon.
LA Tech practiced for over two and a half hours as the Bulldogs completed their 12th practice during the spring season. NCAA rules only allow 15 total spring football practices. Wednesday's practice marked a good workout by all parties and the offense stepped up and performed after a disappointing Tuesday practice.
"Today was a better practice offensively," said Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Dykes. "Guys worked harder and competed better. Guys improved today and it was good. You could see that we were a little bit worn out because we've had two long practices back-to-back and we lost our legs a little bit today but we have tomorrow off and a little bit lighter day on Friday. Hopefully we'll get our legs back and have a good practice and get ready for the spring game on Saturday."
Paige went up and beat cornerback Terry Carter for the ball before running for the end zone. On the very next play, C.J. Broades intercepted a pass and ran it back 46 yards for a touchdown to ignite the defense sideline.
"The offense and defense have been trading big plays, which is what you want to see," said Dykes. Guys are continuing defensively to get a good break on the ball. I thought Chad Boyd and C.J. Broades had some nice interceptions today during the team period. We just have to continue to improve and do a better job of taking care of the football. I thought we protected it better today than we did yesterday but we just have to continue to get better."
One of the key groups to shine Wednesday was the offensive line after a day where they struggled to protect the quarterback. Part of Tuesday's practice showed the reliance on center Lon Roberts who was out of practice with a case of food poisoning.
"I thought the offensive line really played physical today and did a good job of pass protection," recalled Dykes. "I was disappointed in those guys yesterday and feel like those guys really responded today. They came back and played with a bit of a physical, nasty presence, more so than they have been. It was good for them to do that. We had Lon [Roberts] back today and that helped us. We didn't realize how valuable he was until he missed a day. He's a steady guy at center and does a lot of good things for us."
One of the challenges throughout the spring has been to work despite the number of lingering injuries that mainly occurred in the fall. Louisiana Tech was one of the most injured teams in the nation last year.
"It has been kind of weird," Dykes said of the numerous injuries. "Thankfully we haven't had any serious injuries; it has just been some nagging things with guys coming off of surgeries and other stuff from the fall. It has been weird having as many guys as we have in the red jerseys. That's something we have to do - we have to get these guys well and be playing with a full complement of players in the fall. That is going to important for us to do a great job of conditioning over the summer and making sure we report [in the fall] in tip-top shape so we can get to that first ballgame in September healthy."
Despite the injuries, some players are returning to their normal practice schedule and making an immediate impact upon their return, most notably on defense.
"We're starting to get healthier at linebacker," Dykes said. "We got Jay Dudley back out there practicing and Adrien Cole back practicing. You can tell when both of those guys are out there because they are playing with a lot of confidence, playing really fast and they always seem to be around the football. As I said earlier, Chad Boyd has been one of the more consistent guys and I thought he did a good job today. Ahmad Paige was a lot better today than he was yesterday. We're getting better but still working through some inconsistency issues. We have to be a little tougher mentally and be able to fight through some things."
Louisiana Tech will practice again on Friday at 4 p.m. at Joe Aillet Stadium in helmets. All Bulldog fans are welcome to watch practice and support the team with the west side gates being open for all practices and scrimmages.
Friday's practice will be the final practice before the annual T-Day Spring Game which is set for Saturday, April 10 at noon at Joe Aillet Stadium.
For the most comprehensive coverage of Louisiana Tech's spring football practices, check out Spring Football Central at LATechSports.com. For complete coverage of Bulldog Football, please visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.