LA Tech Weekly Football Press Conference Transcript: Oct. 24

Oct. 24, 2017

Holtz Audio

B. Scott Audio

D. Lewis Audio

RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz spoke with the media Tuesday in advance of the team's Conference USA road game at Rice on Saturday, Oct. 28 at Rice Stadium in Houston.

Head Coach Skip Holtz

Opening comments:

"It is always tough to lose, but it is even tougher to come off an emotional loss the way we did this week. What makes it even harder is that this is the third one we have dealt with this year where we have been in a close football game. It is the second where we have had a lead going down the stretch. With four minutes to go and having an 11-point lead, it is hard to swallow when you lose a double overtime game. We certainly had our opportunities, but we did not make the most of them. I thought for 56 minutes it was one of our better football games defensively in the way we tackled going against one of the better rushing teams in our league. It was one of the better games for the way we ran the ball. I thought there were a lot of things really positive in this football for the first 56 minutes. Unfortunately, in the final four minutes we made some mistakes and gave up some plays that were critical mistakes at critical times that ended up costing us the football game. It is hard to go through, especially when so many guys did so many good things."

"On the offensive side of the ball, I thought it was one of our better running production days of the year. Boston Scott averaged almost 10 yards a carry. I thought Jarred Craft did a great job. Between the two tailbacks and the guys up front, especially the two tackles, did an excellent job opening up some holes and creating some big plays and big opportunities. The two running backs really made some things happen. Marlon Watts is a guy that shows up every day and quietly just does his job. He has waited for his opportunity to have kind of a breakout game. He has made some solid catches for us throughout the year, but I thought he really showed up huge in the fourth quarter when we were backed up and he came up with a huge play for us that flipped the field. We were able to push it in for a touchdown and go up 11 points. I was really proud of the way he played."



"It was not one of our better games when you look at the passing production. It is certainly not where it needs to be. I don't think J'Mar [Smith] played with the same confidence and stinger he had been playing with earlier in the season. In talking to him, I think he is over-complicating things, thinking a lot and trying to be perfect. One of the things I love about J'Mar is his quest to be as good as he can be. He wants to know everything going on. He is doing some great things, but I also think one of his biggest strengths right now is his biggest weakness. Right now, I think he is overthinking things. J'Mar is best when J'Mar just plays. I think he was cautious. He did not want to put the ball in danger. But still, you cannot play afraid or cautious. We have to get more production out of our passing game for us to be thee type of team we want to be this fall."

"I thought the special teams were solid during the course of the day. We missed an opportunity for a punt block early in the game with an unblocked guy coming off the edge. We were one block away from a punt return. We were one block away on the final kickoff return. Not being able to field the onside kick -- there were about eight things that Southern Miss needed to have happen in order to make that comeback and we needed one of them to go our way. I credit Southern Miss for making the plays they needed to make. It is the self-inflicted wounds that bother me so bad. Those are the ones that upset you because you don't make people beat you, but you give them away. That is what we have to do a better job of as coaches is making sure our players are on the same page and everybody can do their job. As painful as it is to watch, we cannot put our head in the sand or sulk over it. We just have to be able to do the little things better. We have to do a better job as coaches. I have to do a better job as a head coach. Our players have to do a better job. We have to roll our sleeves up, circle the wagons and compete. We have to turn off the outside noise, the negativity, the naysayers, and look at what we did wrong, what we have to do to get better and improve as a football team. I thought this team competed like crazy. They put themselves in a position to win. We just weren't able to get it done at the end. From that standpoint, that is what drives you as a coach to keep pushing because I think we are that close. I am not ready to quit on this team and I don't think this team is ready to quit on each other. We are going to continue to pound this rock and see what we can continue to build because there is still an awful lot to play for."

On facing Rice:

"I am excited we have the opportunity to play this week. We have to get ready for Rice. Everyone wants to look at records and say who is good and who is not, which I think is a trap for a lot of teams around the country this year. You cannot look at a record and judge a football team. Every week you have a new team, you have injuries, different guys that have to step up and different schemes. We have to get ready for a Rice football team that is very well coached. I have a world of respect for David Bailiff. Everyone says they are 1-6, but in their non-conference schedule, they lost to Stanford, Pitt, Houston and Army. When you look at them, they have the same conference record as we do right now at 1-2. Offensively, I think they can give you some fits with what they do because there are a lot of shifts, motions and trades. It is very difficult to figure out what formation they are going to be in. Statistically, I look at what they have done in the conference games. They are ranked firsts in sacks and tackles for loss. They are ranked second in scoring defense, total defense and first down defense. They are third in rushing, passing and time of possession. Defensively, they are really good with their front seven. Our offensive line is going to have an incredible challenge this week with what they are doing against the run up front."

"I don't think we are in a position where we can overlook anybody at this point. We have to look at the mistakes we made this week and how do we correct them, move forward and get better as a football team. Two things happen when adversity hits your program -- you either crumble from within or you are going to circle the wagons, get tighter and take a resolve that we have to get it straight. You cannot listen to all the outside noise at this point. We have to get ready for this week because the most important goal that we have right now is to find a way to beat Rice this week. I know we are close, but close is not good enough. There is no almost. You either get it done or you don't. Unfortunately, we were not able to get it done last week and we have to find a way to make that happen this week at Rice."


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