Tech scrimmages Friday; Dixon shines

RUSTON -- Louisiana Tech held a short scrimmage Friday evening on the Tech Practice Fields with second and third team players getting most of the action in a session that saw some physical and scrappy play.
The offense made some highlight plays early on with an impressive play by freshman Kenneth Dixon. Dixon gained about 10 yards on the ground before he was wrapped up by approximately nine members of the defense. Never stopping to move his feet, Dixon somehow broke free of the mob and rushed for an extra 40 yards before he was finally brought down.
Two plays later, back-up quarterback Andy McAlindon hit Myles White on a perfect fade route for a touchdown. Later on in the scrimmage and not to be outdone, the defense took control as they forced a couple of three-and-outs.
"The scrimmage was good," said head coach Sonny Dykes. "The thing that I like is that we are competing very hard against each other this late in camp. Our guys are in to it, the competition is very fierce and that is what we want. We wanted to see guys step up today, wanted to see who would react to a little adversity and I think it was a great learning experience for us."
McAlindon, a junior college transfer, and Ryan Higgins, a freshman from Texas, battled throughout the scrimmage alternating possessions. The two are competing for the back-up role with Zach Griffith out with an illness.
"I thought our second team guys did some good things tonight and they needed to," said Dykes. "We have a pretty good competition going on there between Andy [McAlindon] and Ryan [Higgins]. It was good to see them come out here and execute better. I think they are both getting better. I would like to see one separate from the other but they seem to go back and forth. They did a better job of getting rid of the football. The defense showed some blitzes and they had to get rid of the football and get it down to some guys. We made some plays so it was a good scrimmage."
The coaching staff was able to schedule this scrimmage, along with the previous Wednesday's scrimmage, for second and third team players from an offensive unit that returns eight starters from a year ago.
"We are a little worn out and we wanted to see what some of the younger guys can do," Dykes said of resting some starters. "We have so many returning guys that have played it is important to us to find out what our young players can do, what they are capable of, how they are going to handle situations and respond so it is good to get some work for those guys tonight."
Friday's scrimmage was the last Ruston practice open to the fans before the season begins on Aug. 30 against Texas A&M in Shreveport. Following Saturday's "Bulldog Day" in Shreveport with an open practice followed by a Fan Day with an autograph and meet-and-greet session, the team will close practice to the public as the team transitions into Texas A&M game preparation.