LA Tech Practice Report: Tuesday, Aug. 8
Aug. 8, 2017
RUSTON – Mother Nature gave Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz exactly what he wanted on Tuesday morning.
It was a double dose of positive as overcast, dreary, raining conditions greeted the Bulldogs at Joe Aillet Stadium for a two-hour workout. With the rain came cooler temperatures and an opportunity for Holtz and Co. to get some much needed snaps in wet conditions.
“Two years ago we played five of our six home games in the rain,” said the fifth year Bulldog Boss. “So right now it’s not whether we are going out, it’s how wet are we going to get. I think it’s great for us. We need it. We need to throw and catch in bad ball days. We need to get used to a little bit heavier balls and ball handling and backfield action and the center snapping it.”
Tuesday might not be the only day that the Bulldogs practice in rain as the forecast for the rest of the week is calling for plenty of the wet stuff in the north Louisiana area.
“Sometimes when you don’t get this inclement weather in camp you take a bucket of water and dip the ball in it and then give it to the center,” said Holtz. “You do whatever you can to simulate wet conditions. It’s being made for us. I think it’s cool and the temperature is down a little bit, but at the same time it’s giving us a chance to practice bad weather balls.”
The workout was the eighth since Tech opened fall camp nine days ago and Holtz said they used the time to practice a little more of the aerial attack.
“We were full pads yesterday and today we were just in shells with a little bit more emphasis in the passing game,” said Holtz. “We did a two-minute drill at the end of practice. We are just trying to work everything. I hate to say that but it’s true. We have so many things we need to do. We are so inconsistent offensively right now. I think we are coming along on defense. I think some better things are happening.
“I am seeing improvement day to day on some of the changes we made during the offseason on defense. I like the attitude and the way they are working right now. As an offense we just aren’t executing well enough right now with where we are. We have a lot of new faces. We are inconsistent throwing it, catching it, protecting it, running it. We have a long way to go on offense. I do like the attitude. I do think we are working. I don’t think it’s a matter of work ethic as much as it is experience.”
The Bulldogs offense will be run by red-shirt sophomore J’Mar Smith with the graduation of last year’s Conference USA Most Valuable Player in Ryan Higgins. While Smith showed signs of a bright future during limited action last year, Holtz said every snap during the fall is a chance for the young signal caller to work on every aspect of his game.
“In the past when J’Mar had a bad day, you put Ryan back in and he would hop in and do what a fifth year senior does,” said Holtz. “Now you are seeing J’Mar handling adversity. What happens when things are going good. What happens when things are going bad. Right now it’s a learning curve for him. (He is learning) not only the offense and what he has to do with reads and throws, but how he handles adversity. It’s a growing period for him. I’ve said it all along he is going to be a rock star. He has a phenomenal amount of talent, but he needs as much of this work as he can get right now as a starter.”
The Bulldogs are set for four more morning practices this week as the NCAA outlaw two-a-days this year, something Holtz feels is a positive for college football.
“I love it. Absolutely love it,” he said. “I think it’s a positive thing. You are on more of an NFL schedule now. You practice in the morning. The players get a good three hour afternoon to get away from it. You bring them back. You have meetings, you have walk throughs and you have more meetings. I think you are going to find a lot less mistakes in college football this year. You are going to see people executing at a higher level because players are going to have a better understanding because we have more time to walk through and teach then we have had in the past.
“I also think the injuries should go way down with the new schedule being what it is and not having the physical demands. It is going to be who gets the most out of it mentally in week 3 and 4 which is uncharted waters in camp. We haven’t been that far yet.”
Louisiana Tech fans will have two opportunities to interact with the 2017 Bulldog football team prior to the start of the season as Holtz and Co. will participate in a pair of fan days.
Holtz and his Bulldogs will travel to Shreveport/Bossier City on Friday, Aug. 18 for the Freedom Fields Fan Fest starting at 4:15 p.m. Fans are invited to come out to the free event and watch a walk-through practice that begins at 4:30 p.m. Following the workout, the Bulldog players and coaches will sign autographs.
In addition to the practice and autograph session at Freedom Fields, fans will have an opportunity to buy official LA Tech merchandise, purchase season tickets, register their youngsters for the LA Tech Kids Club and interact with members of the spirit teams. Concessions and inflatables will both be on site.
The second fan fest is set for Saturday, Aug. 19 at the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston as doors will open at 10:30 a.m. Members of the Bulldog football team and the Lady Techster volleyball team will participate in autograph sessions from 11 a.m. to noon.
Fans can have their photo taken with the Armed Forces Bowl trophy and youngsters can enjoy the inflatable bounce houses. LA Tech fans can also purchase season tickets while LA Tech Kids Club registration and pickup will be available. Official Tech merchandise will be available while members of the Tech spirit squads will also be in attendance. Concessions will be open although limited items (water, tea, popcorn) will be available.
Following the fan fest, the Bulldog football team will scrimmage at Joe Aillet Stadium while the Lady Techster volleyball team will scrimmage at the Thomas Assembly Center. Both are free and open to the general public.
Louisiana Tech fans can now purchase season tickets for the upcoming 2017 football season as the Bulldogs coming off three consecutive nine-win seasons, three straight bowl victories and one of the most impressive home slates on the horizon next fall with a program-record seven home games at Joe Aillet Stadium.
Fans can purchase season tickets online at www.LATechSports.com/tickets or by calling the LA Tech Ticket Office at 318-257-3631. Fans will also have the opportunity to save up to $84 by becoming a season ticket holder rather than purchasing single-game tickets.
LA Tech also began selling single-game tickets Tuesday for the seven home Bulldog football games at Joe Aillet Stadium.
Skip Holtz and Co. open the season Sept. 2 when they host Northwestern State at 6 p.m., followed one week later by a home match-up against SEC foe Mississippi State (Sept. 9). The Bulldogs will also host South Alabama (Sept. 30), Southern Miss (Oct. 21), North Texas (Nov. 4), Florida Atlantic (Nov. 11) and UTSA (Nov. 25).
Louisiana Tech fans can access the prices and purchase single-game tickets by logging onto LATechSports.com/Tickets. Fans can call the LA Tech Ticket Office (318-257-3631) Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. or can stop by the ticket office located on the concourse of the Thomas Assembly Center.
Group experiences are also available (subject to availability based on type of group, size and event type) and include: video board recognition, birthday parties, special group pricing, reserved block seating, on-field pregame photo, pregame field access, and the opportunity to reserve a tailgate spot. For more information on group experiences, fans can call 318-257-5152.
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