RUSTON, La. (March 17, 2014) - Louisiana Tech’s football program held its first spring practice in pads Monday as Tech practiced for over two hours at Joe Aillet Stadium.
The NCAA mandates that the first two practices of spring practice and fall camp be in helmets only before teams can wear shoulder pads.
While the first two practices for Louisiana Tech had the coaches installing the first parts of the playbook, Monday’s session was centered around reviewing and retaining what was learned in the first two sessions.
“We [as a coaching staff] talked about taking this spring to install everything slowly,” said LA Tech head coach Skip Holtz. “We installed during the first two days and then today we didn’t install anything. It was the first day in pads and they have two days of new stuff swimming around in their heads. They will start to feel a little more comfortable and then we will start to slowly add things on Wednesday and Friday then just review all of that next Monday. We will probably use that scenario throughout most of spring practice, installing little things at a time. We are not trying to throw everything at them, we are just trying to get good at the things we are putting in that we think are going to be part of the staples [of the team this fall].”
With the first chance to hit, the players responded with a heightened level of intensity on the field and in drills. That showed throughout the practice session and especially in the last 20 minutes of practice in the LA Tech version of the Oklahoma drill.
“The first day in pads always creates a little bit of excitement and energy,” Holtz said. “For day three I am excited with some of the retention [of knowledge] at some of the positions but at the same time there are guys on both sides of the ball who need to come along. We are not going to learn it just sitting in meetings and we’re not going to learn it just coming out here. We need to spend some time and climb into our play books. I know we have thrown a lot at them in just three days and mentally they are just swimming around but it wills tart to slow down for them a little bit and the game will slow down as they start feeling more comfortable as they are all learning, what I like to call, a new foreign language.”
Overall, the energy level and intensity on the field was the story of the day as players enjoyed the physicality of the practice while growing upon the base of concepts installed during the previous two practices.
“I like the energy the defense is playing with right now,” Holtz said They are playing with some confidence. A lot of the guys are moving around and doing a lot of different things and creating a lot of different looks. Everyone always says that the defense is always ahead of the offense at this point in spring practice but I have seen some great individual efforts on the offense that gets me excited for their improvement this fall.”
Although just three practices into the spring, the coaching staff is already seeing improvement in several areas.
They have been working hard and some guys are doing some really good things but we are not ready to put it all together yet. We do not have all the pieces of the puzzle to put it all together but I am encouraged with a lot of what I see. There are a lot of positions that I think will be much improved over a year ago. We have talked about what some of the guys have done in the offseason to make themselves better players but we also have to get some of these recruits [signees] here too. We need to get them in here and see how they fit in with the program.
Tech will practice twice more this week with Wednesday’s session being closed due to the Bulldog Basketball team hosting Iona in the first round of the NIT while Friday’s practice is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.