LA Tech Weekly Football Press Conference Transcript: Nov. 21

Nov. 21, 2017

Holtz Audio

RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz spoke with the media Tuesday in advance of the team's regular season finale against UTSA on Saturday, Nov. 25 at Joe Aillet Stadium in Ruston.

Head Coach Skip Holtz

Opening comments:

"With the win at UTEP last week, I certainly appreciate the job Mike Price is doing with what that program is fighting through right now in a very difficult situation. I thought their team competed really hard and made it a very competitive football game. There were a lot of positives in this game and a lot of things to build on. When I look at the production on defense with a pick six, which I think a special teams score and a defensive score are two of the most exciting things that happen during the course of a football game. To see DaMarion King have his pick six and Amik Robertson and then Dae'Von Washington causing the fumble for three of their turnovers, I thought there was a lot of production. With zero points in the first half, I thought our defense was playing really well. Offensively, it was our best game on the ground. To rush for 343 yards and have 546 on the day, I thought there were a lot of guys that really stepped up and did some good things from an offensive standpoint as well. To see J'Mar Smith not have an interception -- that means since the South Carolina game, which I believe was seven games ago that he threw the interception at the end, I think he has thrown one pick in the last seven games and he hasn't thrown one in four. We keep talking about his growth and maturity as just a sophomore. I think you could argue that he is maybe one of the most improved players after turning it over five times in the first two games. It was nice to see him play the way he did. As a team, we were five out of six in the red zone, 3-for-3 on offense and 2-for-3 on defense, 67 percent on third down, so there was a lot of production in this game."


 

 

"Some of the negative things where we have to get better is we gave up a couple of big plays in the second half with two big-play touchdowns in the passing game, one in man coverage where one of the defenders just fell down. Give them credit, they executed the play. The other one was in zone coverage where we had a guy just lose his footing and fall down and then they made one miss to go and score. The two fumbles to start the game offensively. We talk about how important it is to protect the football, and yet, we went out there in the first quarter and on our first two drives we fumbled both of them away. I think we have to look at some of the foolish penalties pre- and post-snap. We had two late hits and three penalties after the whistle. I believe we had four offsides. Those are just foolish penalties we have to be able to eliminate."

"On special teams, there were goods and bads. I thought Davan Dyer did a nice job stepping in and punting the ball. Jonathan Barnes did a nice job kicking the extra points and the touchbacks, but we have to look a little bit at special teams. We did not play very well with our kickoff and kickoff return team. Those are some things we have to look at."

"Overall, I thought there were some guys that played really hard. Our focus was on UTEP. That is what we needed last week. As we talked about, we don't have the luxury to get into the big picture and debates. Right now, our focus is UTSA. That game ended and now it is all about UTSA this week and that is where our focus is."

On UTSA:

"I think Coach Wilson has done a really good job with this UTSA team. They are 6-4 and playing 14 seniors on this team, nine of them on offense. It is a very experienced team. It all starts with their senior quarterback, Dalton Sturm, who I think is playing really good football right now. He has rushed for over 500 yards this year. There is a lot of balance on this offense. They have a two-headed monster in the backfield with two running backs kind of like our Boston Scott and Jarred Craft tandem. They are both playing a lot and are really productive for them. They have four receivers who have over 25 catches. They have a really balanced team and are doing some good things on offense."

"I think it all starts when you look at them defensively. They are in every game they play. In their four losses, they have lost by two, three, five and seven points. Truly, they are four plays away from being undefeated. When you play strong defense like they do, they are ranked in the top 10 in the nation in about four different categories. They are not just playing good defensive football in our conference, but they are playing it at a national level. There are seven categories where they are ranked first or second in our league. They are playing really strong football. They have two defensive linemen that are two of the better defensive linemen in our league."

"Their special teams are really solid. I think this has the makings for a great challenge for us this week. Our attention right now is on what we have to do to find a way to win a game."

On Senior Day:

"It is senior day. We are going to have the opportunity to acknowledge some seniors who are going to play for the last time at Joe Aillet Stadium. It is going to be an opportunity for them to kind of reflect back. Let's hope that the memories don't become overwhelming and we have a hard time blocking and tackling because of tears in our eyes. We want to say thank you to them. These guys have been a huge part of us building this program. You look at the guys like the Coopers, Crafts, Canty and Boston Scotts. They have been integral parts of our success to this point. Many of them have played for the last four years and been a big part of special teams, offense and defense and this team being in three bowl games for the last three years. We want to be able to send them off the right way, say thank you to them and make this a memorable day for them. I know it is Thanksgiving. I want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends. If you have an opportunity after you have gotten your fill of yard bird and want to come out to the ballpark on Saturday at 6:30, we would love to see you out here for these seniors last home game at Joe Aillet Stadium."

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