RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech held its first full pads practice Friday afternoon in a hot and humid session that lasted over two hours on the Tech Practice Fields.
Friday’s practice in full pads allowed Bulldog players the first real opportunity to deliver hits and make tackles. The session also allowed the offense to rebound from a sub-par performance on Thursday.
“It was the first day we started using long counts and hard counts and we were jumping offsides as much as the defense,” head coach Skip Holtz said of Thursday’s miscues by the offense. “Those are just focus things and those are things that upset me – fundamental mistakes, effort mistakes, things like that. It wasn’t a physical mistake where a guy got beat, I can deal with that, but it was the fundamental things. If you are going to play center, you have to be able to snap a football. Period. There is no choice, you have to be able to snap a football or they call you a guard or tackle. If we are going to have our centers play center, there can be no ‘My bad,’ they have to get it done. I thought we stood up and did a much better job today.”
With far fewer offsides and false starts, as well as very few bad snaps, the offense was able to reclaim some pride during skelly and team drills.
“I thought the centers did a much better job with the snaps today,” Holtz said of Friday’s practice. “We had a bit of a resemblance of a football team. I was proud of the way they bounced back today after a hard day yesterday.”
A full pads practice also allowed another level of emotion and intensity to be brought to the field which, at one point, resulted in a scuffle during an offensive line versus defensive line drill.
“I don’t like the fight but I love the emotion,” Holtz said of the minor scuffle. “I don’t ever want to take emotion out of this game because you can’t play this game without emotion or passion. Now we have to be smart with what we are doing. Sometimes a little tousle gets into a push-and-shove and it is good for the morale of camp. If it turns into fighting, then that is not healthy for our team morale.”
“There are about seven or eight guys right now that have a chance to play as freshmen from what I have seen in a few days. Now, we are still three weeks away from the first game and we are going to hit a physical wall and we are going to hit a mental wall and then we are going to see how they fight through it and how they come back if they are going to be ready to play in year one.”
Among the several freshmen that Holtz mentioned as having stood out, one was Price Wilon who is engaged in a competitive battle for the quarterback position.
“I didn’t but it is hard to see everything on tape,” said Holtz when asked if thought Wilson was as good as advertised. “Tony Petersen had a chance to watch him live and he came back and he told me that [Price] throws it like Zeus. He said that he has had a couple of first round draft picks and he hasn’t had a quarterback that has had that type of release. Now he is still a freshman and just like when he had Pennington and Leftwich, those guys as freshmen weren’t what they were as seniors. But when you look at the raw piece of clay you are working with and the talent and skills that he has as far as his quick release and the way he can throw the ball, he is going to be a really special player.”
While Friday’s practice marked the first in full pads, Saturday will serve as the team’s first two-a-day.
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