Louisiana Tech Freshmen Continue to Improve


 

 

Aug. 10, 2012

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RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech practiced for two hours Friday evening on the Tech practice fields with a more concerted effort from the team and a crop of young freshmen starting to make an impact.

With a signing class that rivaled any other in school history, at least on paper, the freshmen are starting to get a better understanding of the playbook and that is allowing them to start making more plays in practice.

"We have a good freshman class and I have been happy with all of them," said head coach Sonny Dykes. "Ryan Higgins has been good, Kenneth Dixon has been good and the receivers have been pretty good as well. Jaydrick [DeClouette] really looked good early, kind of hit that freshman deal but is getting better. We had to make a position change with him; it will probably take him a couple days to adjust to playing over on the left side. Grant [Childress] has definitely gotten better from day one. I have also been really pleased with Darrell Brown. I think Darrell has a chance to be a really good offensive lineman for us. He is really athletic and I have been really pleased with what I have seen out of him."

On the defensive side of the ball, Kentrell Brice made a few impressive plays as he begins to showcase is youthful athletic ability.

"Kentrell [Brice] showed up today, more than he has been. I think he is getting more comfortable back there. He is a kid that is a good athlete, can run and make some plays. Thaddeaus Medford is another kid that is starting to show up more and more and that is good to see. Adairius Barnes has been pretty consistent and Tra'Vez Taylor made a lot of plays today. We have talked about those freshman DBs and they are learning right now but it is a talented group."

Aside from the young players beginning to make a name for themselves, the defensive line continues to stand out as one of the more talented and consistent groups on the field.

"I think that is a strength of our team," Dykes said. "Those guys have been solid so far. Justin Ellis is more consistent than he has been. Shak [Shakeil Lucas] has probably been, day-in and day-out, our most consistent guy. Jon'al [White] has shown some flashes of being really good; again he has to work on being more consistent. Vernon Butler gives us some depth and he has done some good things. I am excited to see the continued development of these guys but I feel pretty good about our defensive tackles right now."

Overall the team appeared refocused and reenergized Friday evening after Thursday's hot mid-afternoon practice.

"I was really pleased with what I saw today," commented Dykes. "I thought yesterday was a little lackluster and I was curious to see how we would respond today. I thought it was a really good, aggressive, physical, tough, competitive practice so I was really pleased with what we did today."

The Bulldogs return to practice at 6 p.m. Saturday evening (Aug. 11) with the team's first practice in full pads.

Louisiana Tech opens its season Aug. 30 in a historic matchup against SEC foe Texas A&M at Shreveport's Independence Stadium at 6:30 p.m. Season tickets as well as individual game tickets can be purchased by calling 318-257-3631, emailing techtickets@latech.edu or by logging onto www.LATechsports.com.

Fans are also encouraged to sign up their young Bulldog and Techster fans with a membership to the LA Tech Kids Club (only $40 per year gets free admittance to all LA Tech regular season, on-campus home events as well as numerous other benefits).

Tech will host a pair of team autograph sessions in the coming weeks as Bulldog fans can meet this year's players and coaches on Aug. 12 at 2:30 p.m. at Joe Aillet Stadium and Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Independence Stadium. For more information, log onto www.LATechsports.com.

Tech fans are also encouraged to financially support the University's dedicated and talented student-athletes, coaches and staff by joining the Louisiana Tech Athletic Club (LTAC). As the University approaches a new era of Conference USA membership starting July 1, 2013, these types of financial gifts are vital to the continued success. Anyone interesting in becoming a member of LTAC can do so by calling Adam McGuirt at 318-255-7950. More information can be found online at www.LATechsports.com or at www.LATechAlumni.org.

For complete coverage of Bulldog Football, please follow @LATechFB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.

 

QUOTES

Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Dykes

"I was really pleased with what I saw today. I thought yesterday was a little lackluster and I was curious to see how we would respond today. I thought it was a really good, aggressive, physical, tough, competitive practice so I was really pleased with what we did today."

On the freshmen:

"We have a good freshman class and I have been happy with all of them. Ryan Higgins has been good, Kenneth Dixon has been good and the receivers have been pretty good as well. Jaydrick [DeClouette] really looked good early, kind of hit that freshman deal but is getting better. We had to make a position change with him; it will probably take him a couple days to adjust to playing over on the left side. Grant [Childress] has definitely gotten better from day one. I have also been really pleased with Darrell Brown. I think Darrell has a chance to be a really good offensive lineman for us. He is really athletic and I have been really pleased with what I have seen out of him."

On Kentrell Brice:

"Kentrell [Brice] showed up today, more than he has been. I think he is getting more comfortable back there. He is a kid that is a good athlete, can run and make some plays. Thaddeaus Medford is another kid that is starting to show up more and more and that is good to see. Adairius Barnes has been pretty consistent and Tra'Vez Taylor made a lot of plays today. We have talked about those freshman DBs and they are learning right now but it is a talented group."

On Conner Smith moving to receiver:

"That is why we bring those guys to camp; usually they are guys that know the offense. This time of camp, one or two guys usually start to wear down and Conner is a good athlete. We knew that when we brought him in and that is really why we brought him to camp. We knew he could do a good job as a scout team quarterback and if we had to he could give us some depth at wide receiver at times. He is raw but the kid can run, he has some good size and he is a good athlete. We will see if anything comes out of that."

On the defensive tackles:

"I think that is a strength of our team. Those guys have been solid so far. Justin Ellis is more consistent than he has been. Shak [Shakeil Lucas] has probably been, day-in and day-out, our most consistent guy. Jon'al [White] has shown some flashes of being really good; again he has to work on being more consistent. Vernon Butler gives us some depth and he has done some good things. I am excited to see the continued development of these guys but I feel pretty good about our defensive tackles right now."