RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech continued two-a-day practices Monday as the team worked through its ninth and 10th practices of fall camp. The team practiced for approximately an hour in the morning at Joe Aillet stadium and for less than 90 minutes on the practice fields in the evening.
As camp continues to roll on, off-the-field vocal leaders are beginning to emerge as the team continues to mature. Tech has some older players and even some recent junior college transfers stepping up into leadership roles this fall.
"That is something we have been definitely surprised with is the amount of leadership we have," explained head coach Sonny Dykes. "That is something that is still developing; I do not think we are a team that has a tremendous amount of vocal leaders yet but I think some guys are starting to establish themselves. That is a process and something, as coaches, we have to try and bring out of this team. As players, well it is their team and they need to make sure they take control of that."
One of the guys that is stepping up as an off-the-field leader has been Quinton Patton, who is also establishing himself as a leader on the field. Patton has been one of the standout players in fall camp who has shown a consistent high level of play on the field.
"Quinton is a real vocal guy," said Dykes. "He is someone who has a lot of confidence and I think that is good for our players. That is one thing that we need to become as a team is a confident football team. The way you do that is by believing in yourself and the way you believe in yourself is knowing you can get things done, going out and executing and paying the price. It is a process to getting to where we want to be to develop true confidence but I feel like we are headed in the right direction."
Along with the maturation of the players, the offense is beginning to find more consistency in both big explosive plays as well as the nickel and dime-type plays that keep the chains moving in tough situations.
"In order to move the football, you have to execute," Dykes said. "That was where we struggled last year, we just could not consistently go out and execute. We have to be able to make the three and four yard runs and the five yard completions and do a good job in situations. That has been something we have really tried to stress to our players and our coaches is being good in situations. I think we are getting better but we still have a long way to go."
Louisiana Tech will continue working through camp on Tuesday as the team works out on the practice fields in the afternoon. Dykes will head to the Monroe Civic Center in the evening for Louisiana Tech's Happening XXX.