RUSTON, La. - After a few days of allowing the offense to stand out in practice the defense struck back and capitalized on the offense's overall struggle to execute as Louisiana Tech's football team practiced for approximately 90 minutes on the Tech practice fields Wednesday evening.
The pass defense took advantage of a struggling offense with three interceptions on the day including Dave Clark's six overall interception of fall camp. Freshman Brice Abraham recorded a pick as did Solomon Randle.
"It was a little sloppy today," Dykes said of Wednesday's practice. "I thought, especially offensively, we didn't execute very well. We looked like a tired football team today and the quarterbacks weren't as good as they've been. It was not a real sharp day offensively but I thought our defense flew around and we did a lot of really good things in the kicking game. We got things done and we got better at a lot of things but there are a lot of things we still need to get better at."
Tech's defense was led by scrappy play by the secondary and a continual maturation of the linebackers, who figure to be the anchor of the defense this season.
"Adrien Cole and Jay Dudley have played a lot of football and we have some good young players as well. Solomon Randle has played a lot of football and I have been pleased with him. I have been really pleased with a lot of the young guys like Chip Hester and Antonio Mitchum. Those guys have been doing some good things. It is a solid group for us and we have a lot of depth and it will be an exciting group to watch."
As Louisiana Tech is midway through its second week of fall camp, senior Adrien Cole has been the biggest surprise.
"I'll tell you who has practiced at the best level he has ever practiced at is Adrien Cole," Dykes said. "To me, he has been a little bit like our football team. He has really matured, grown up and been incredibly consistent. He has probably been as solid as anybody we have had up until this point. I have been really pleased with him. Our defensive backs have made some plays. We put a lot of pressure on our corners to do a lot of different things and they are responding to the challenge right now."
Cole's resurgence, if you will, is partially a product of two other middle linebackers with a lot of talent nipping at his heels for playing time.
"I think Chip Hester and Solomon Randle both have pushed Adrien [Cole] to get better," explained Dykes. "I also think Rufus Porter has done some good things as well. But recruiting Chip was a message to Adrien and I think he understood that and it has pushed him. That position [middle linebacker] has a lot of depth."
Tech returns to the practice fields Thursday evening as the team prepares for its first scrimmage on Friday.