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March 23, 2013

Tech offense and defense had their moments Saturday

RUSTON - After a 14 hour break, Louisiana Tech returned to work Saturday morning as the team practiced for two hours at Joe Aillet Stadium in full pads.

The secondary spent most of the practice session in 1-on-1s, pass skell and the beginning of team drills providing tough coverage and making it a tough day on the receivers with Kentrell Brice, Bryson Abraham and several others playing with a high level of intensity.

[Related: Spring Practice No. 6 Notebook]

"We got after it a little bit today," said head coach Skip Holtz. "After a light day yesterday to kind of flush our systems and polish some stuff up, we came out and tried to balance how much we went live. We went about 36 plays of live work today. We got a great practice in, a lot of individual with individual drills, some pass skell and a little bit of team with a chance to get about 36 scrimmage plays at the end. But they aren't dragging out there, our guys are flying around and they are starting to understand where they are supposed to be. Now we have to start teaching where they are supposed to be and teach how to do it and get into some of the finer-tuned things and polish it up."

Part of the inability to get a rhythm going on offense was the coaching staff changing personnel out every six plays. The coaching staff continues to evaluate the personnel available to them.

"It is hard to find a rhythm when we are rolling [changing personnel] every six plays," explained Holtz. "The team/scrimmage sets aren't as much for moving the chains as they are for us to evaluate some personnel and to see where we are. All of a sudden there will be running back in the game and I tell Coach Petersen that I would like to see another player run that play or to throw it to that person or another person. Right now I am more concerned about the individual pieces of the puzzle than I am the big picture."

While the receivers and defensive backs were working during pass skell, the running backs worked with the offensive and defensive lines while also getting some work during the live team session. Of the running backs available, 2012 Freshman All-America tailback Kenneth Dixon continues to impress despite working with a new coaching staff.

"At every chance today, he was asking if we were going to go live today," Holtz said of Dixon. "Even at the end after two series he told me that they had to go one more, he wanted one more series. I have really been impressed with his attitude. You talk about attitude and work habits, it is typical for someone who had a great freshman year to put on the brakes a bit. The biggest challenge to him right now injury, especially with Tevin King out this spring. But he is pushing himself hard every day and I have really been impressed with the motor that he has and that is what the great ones have. They are motivated by themselves; they aren't motivated by the depth chart or playing time or anything like that but they are motivated by their desire to be great."

One of the main leaders to have stepped up is receiver and return specialist D.J. Banks. A product of West Monroe and heavily involved in the university's Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) organization, his father is a preacher and this weekend, on Palm Sunday, his father is giving Banks the opportunity to preach at his church for the first time.

"The way he has been playing right now, the attitude he has on that field, the commitment level he is making, he is really working at being a great leader on this team," Holtz said of Banks. "Not just verbally and that is invaluable. I say all the time that this is a new football team and it will be different than last year. We have a new group of seniors and how will they lead? D.J. Banks is a fantastic young man who is about to do his first sermon in his church this weekend with his first opportunity to preach. He is just a first class young man, a great leader, a very talented leader and he is going to be a guy we are going to look to in a leadership role this year."

The Bulldogs return on Monday for a closed practice before holding the first scrimmage of the spring on Wednesday, March 27 at Joe Aillet Stadium at 4 p.m. In between, Tech will host its annual Pro Day on Tuesday, March 27 at 10 a.m. at Joe Aillet Stadium, an event that is open to the public.

Louisiana Tech NEWS


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