Posted Sep 29, 2004 09:25:18
Tech Officials Hope for Sea of Blue Saturday
RUSTON - As Louisiana Tech fans depart the friendly confines of Joe Aillet Stadium, they are reminded by a number of signs which sit attached to the inside of the fences and contain the simple statement, "Next Time I'll Wear Blue."
This Saturday when the Bulldogs host the No. 17 ranked Fresno State Bulldogs in what is being billed as the "Battle of the Bone," Tech officials hope to not only have the largest crowd at Aillet Stadium in many years but that the crowd will resemble a sea of blue.
"We are really urging all of our people to wear blue to every game," said Tech Director for Advancement Ronny Walker. "This is something that we have been working on for a few years and it has gotten better, but we want to get to the point where every single Louisiana Tech fans is clad in blue on game day. It will only add to the atmosphere of the stadium."
Louisiana Tech head coach Jack Bicknell also hopes Bulldog fans make things tough on this weekend's opponent.
"I hope it's a great atmosphere," said Tech head coach Jack Bicknell. "I know this. It's a tough place to play out there when we go to Fresno. I'd love to get a great crowd in here and sort of pay back the favor. I know it means a lot to our team. The first two games I thought we had great attendance, especially the student body, and I hope they come out even more this weekend."
Any Louisiana Tech fan that made the trip to Knoxville last weekend got a first-hand look at what Tech officials are hoping for as the 104,000-plus at Neyland Stadium resembled an orange blanket. As the Tech buses rolled through the Tennessee tailgaters two hours prior to kickoff, every single Volunteer fan donned orange from shoes to pants to shirts to hats.
"It was an incredible sight," Walker said. "From the children to the UT students to the adults, everyone was wearing orange. That's what we want our people to do. We want them to dress the part and then come kickoff to act the part. Our first two home crowds were great and we want to build off of those."
Walker said the Louisiana Tech Team Shop would be open Friday from 12 to 6 p.m. inside Aillet Stadium on the West Side and then from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Thomas Assembly Center.
"Anyone who doesn't have a blue shirt can come by and purchase either this year's official football t-shirt or from a selection of shirts," Walker said. "This is a huge weekend for us and obviously our fans are the reason why. It's up to them to make Joe Aillet Stadium a tough atmosphere for opposing teams."
Fresno State (3-0) enters the game as the first ranked Division I opponent to ever play at Joe Aillet Stadium since Louisiana Tech moved up from I-AA status in 1989. The game is also big for both teams' goals of winning the 2004 Western Athletic Conference title.
Kickoff for the game is set for 6 p.m.