Bulldogs Hold Final Practice of 2016; Walk Thru Thursday

Dec. 21, 2016

FORT WORTH, Texas - Louisiana Tech shook off a come-from-ahead loss to Navy in Tuesday night's Family Feud bowl-event contest at Billy Bob's to have a solid practice, its last one of the season, today in nippy and overcast but dry conditions at nearby Centennial High in Burleson.

The Bulldogs can't dwell on the past; the real feud with Navy is in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Friday at 3:30 in Amon G. Carter Stadium on the TCU campus.

"Our last work day, in shorts, was good; gave us a chance to sharpen some things," said Bulldogs head coach Skip Holtz. "The main thing we've emphasized about this game with Navy is we have to be efficient. It's not about clock management; it's more about hitting a high completion percentage, not losing yards, scoring when we have the chance.

"UTEP is a team we've played that's a lot like Navy's style as far as being a run-oriented team," he said. "We had the ball four times the first half and four in the second and won the game, 28-7. The idea isn't to try to score 55; the idea is to be efficient."

"Whenever we have the ball we have to score," said quarterback Ryan Higgins. "Keep the chains moving."

"They run an awesome offense," receiver Conner Smith said. "We can't have dropped balls. We can't have mistakes. We have to execute."

Like Higgins, Smith will be playing his final game as a Bulldog.

"I'm trying to really take the whole trip in, to live out every moment," Smith said. "I can't wait until game time."

"This is a great opportunity for our program and for our seniors to go out on a high note," Higgins said. "It's been a long, crazy ride, so I'm sort of having a flood of emotions."

Speaking of crazy, practice Wednesday concluded with the third annual Coaches Game, won by the defensive coaches, who now have a 2-1 advantage in the series. With shouting players crowding the sidelines, the game was decided by the suddenly magical combination of the elusive Blake Baker to the uncoverable Mike Schrang; the two teamed for the game-winning bomb before anyone blew out a knee or wrenched a back.



"Now that was fun," said Higgins. "It's a blast to look at how stiff or how slow or how bad some of our coaches are."

Also fun was the team picking up its bowl-game swag in the early afternoon: beanie, jar of salsa, tacky Christmas sweater, commemorative football, and a choice between things like speakers or watches or Ipads or even small TV sets. They've scored a couple of really nice-looking wind suits and shoes as well. Another both-teams event is scheduled for tonight at a local comedy club. Tomorrow is the bowl banquet and then a walk-thru and team picture at Amon G. Carter Stadium.


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