RUSTON, La. - A day after 99 student-athletes reported for fall camp, Louisiana Tech finally got back on the practice fields for the first time since spring practice ended in April. The team practiced for two hours Monday afternoon on the Tech Practice Fields in the first practice of fall camp.
Per NCAA rules, the team was only allowed to wear helmets Monday. Wednesday's practice - which will be the third session of fall camp - will be the first opportunity to put on shoulder pads.
"Today is like running around in your underwear out there (helmets only)," head coach Skip Holtz said of practicing in helmets only. "We did a lot of work apart from each other and just did a little bit of pass skell with each other. I like the way the team ran around and the attitude and moral of it right now. I was really pleased with the way they went out there and worked. Day one is down and now we have to get through day two and one more installation day tomorrow."
The Bulldogs head coach told the media following practice that the team's helmets only practices will be used primarily for installation while shells (helmets and shoulder pads) and full pads practices will be used for repetition of what has been installed.
"Just if they know what to do yet," Holtz said of what, if any, can be gained from Monday's practice for the newcomers. "To watch the freshmen and see how much smoke is coming out of their ear holes yet with the way that they are trying to absorb everything. You can see some overall talent but you can't really evaluate what kind of football team you will be until you put on pads. I see them running around and we have to get a lot of little things cleaned up.
"You can tell the huge difference between Ryan [Higgins] and Kenneth [Dixon] and all the other quarterbacks that are out there. Just the mechanics, the ball movement, how smooth it is and how much more comfortable they are since they have been doing it for a while. That is where we have to get to with a lot of the new guys that are out there but, like I said, it was a good day. If we can get 29 days like this then I will feel much better."
"I think he naturally has an advantage because he has been here for a year and a half," Holtz said of Higgins. "I think the concept of where he is with the offense right now and understanding it and reading it, I think gives him a step up on day one. But when the other quarterbacks have a chance to catch up, that is when we are really going to get a good evaluation of where they all are. Right now, there is a learning curve there [for the newcomers]."
The secondary, with several returning starters from last year's squad, is one of the most experienced groups on the field and showed it with their level of play during the first practice session.
"They are really savvy with what they are doing right now and really comfortable with the defense," Holtz said of the secondary. "They understand it, they've played in it, they have experience and they have been successful. There is some talent in that secondary and we didn't see a plethora of coverages today. It was only a handful of coverages being that it was day one and tomorrow we will have a little bit more and a little bit more. That is where that secondary, with their experience back there and being veterans knowing what we are trying to do, that is where it is really going to start showing up."
The Bulldogs have another helmets only practice Tuesday afternoon on the Tech Practice Fields.
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