Aug. 12, 2010
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech's football team worked out in shells (helmets and shoulder pads) for the first time this fall as the team practiced for over two hours Thursday evening on the Tech practice fields.
With the first day of hitting upon them, emotions began to run high as both sides of the ball added a new level of physicality to practice. With the added weight of pads and the hitting added to the mix, the team worked on keeping the pace of practice up despite the added fatigue factor.
"This is my 21st year of coaching and the first day of pads is always tough," said assistant head coach Rob Likens. "You would think that it is exciting but what happens is their emotions get to them early and there's a big lull in the middle of practice because of all that heat and extra weight sets in on them and they're hitting. All you can do is just hope that they'll regain some momentum in the last team period and play tough. I think that's what we did. It got a little squirrelly out here during the team period, we got into it a little bit, but there's nothing wrong with that."
"I think both sides competed very well at the end," Likens continued. "We were sloppy on both sides of the ball - that's what happens when you get fatigued - you start losing those details. They competed very well at the end."
Ironically, it was the receivers and the defensive backs that stood out in practice Thursday with each side taking their turns at making big plays. Ahmad Paige and Tim Molton each made a couple of sideline grabs that impressed teammates throughout the night.
"I thought Ahmad Paige stood out today just by competing all the way through practice," said Likens. "We have 10 receivers and seven of them went out with either cramping or some sort of injury. We were left with jus three there at the end with him [Ahmad], Tim Molton and Phillip Livas there at the end. They competed at the end and then we had a couple guys that normally don't get a ton of reps that got a chance to go in there for quite a bit. I thought Ray Holley competed really well. Cruz Williams competed today."
"I get a chance to see the defensive backs every day, up close and personal," explained Likens. "I will tell you what; Josh Victorian is probably one of the best corners I've been around in 20 years. He really is. Justin Goodman competed very well today. He went against Tim Molton and Ahmad Paige every other play and he really was physical and out-jumped them a couple times to knock it down."
However the big play of Thursday's practice came as Ray Holley made two impressive cuts on a 97-to-98 yard touchdown run.
"It's a whole different dimension to your offense because you can literally score on every single play," Likens said of Holley. "I think once it is all said and done and we get the starters and they get on the field, I think that we're going to be an offense that score from anywhere on any play. We are going to have about four or five guys that can take it the distance at any time. It makes the play calling a little bit easier when you have a guy that can make some guys miss and get 20 [yards] on a play blocked for five."
Louisiana Tech will return to the practice fields in shells on Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. Friday's practice is open to the public and the media. Tech will then have their first two-a-day session on Saturday on the practice fields at 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. with the Saturday evening practice being the first with full pads.
"Tomorrow is going to be a huge leadership day," Likens said about Friday's practice. "Everyone is going to be tired. Everyone is going to be hurting. There are some guys that are going to be out so there will be some guys getting more reps than they usually would. You're going to see a team that needs some leadership. After a while, they get tired of the coaches yelling at them. But when their teammate tells them `Hey, you have to pick it up out there, we need you,' it means a little more to them. So we need to get some leadership tomorrow. It will be a good day to gauge our leadership on this football team."
Bulldog fans are reminded that season tickets are still on sale and can be purchased at LATechSports.com or by calling the ticket office at 318-257-3631 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Single game tickets are also on sale for all home games as well as the Port City Classic sponsored by Community Trust Bank when Tech takes on Grambling at Shreveport's Independence Stadium on Sept. 4 at 6 p.m.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Football, please visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.