RUSTON, La. – Louisiana Tech reached the halfway point of fall camp on Saturday as the Bulldogs spent two hours on the field at Joe Aillet Stadium for what was the team’s first scrimmage since reporting to campus two weeks ago.
For the first time this week, it was clear skies for head coach Skip Holtz and the Bulldogs, who were able to get in quality work and live action in the stadium to close out the second week of fall camp.
“Today was our personnel scrimmage,” Holtz said. “We weren’t trying to evaluate the flow of the offense and defense. We are two weeks in and we have to make the decision about who is on our travel list. We did not practice any special teams today because we don’t know who is going to be on that list yet. We’ve got about 82 guys who are fighting for 70. We tried to call plays and put people in the position where we could get a better evaluation on them. We were just trying to see some different players in some different individual spots today.”
The Bulldog offense participated in eight-play drives over the course of Saturday’s scrimmage with the goal of moving the ball consistently and avoiding turnovers. Toward the end of the day on Saturday, both sides of the ball were showing out during goal line
“I thought the offensive line did a pretty decent job of coming off the ball,” Holtz said of the team’s performance on Saturday. “I think we played more physical. We talked about the leadership we have up there and I think they did a really nice job. For the most part, I think the quarterbacks with our passing game did a pretty good job of throw and catch. They were 8-play drives, so it wasn’t so much about scoring a touchdown as much as could we execute and move the chains. Our defense is getting better. Our pass defense is getting better. We are not giving up as many big plays. I like the way they are playing really aggressive on the back end.”
Redshirt sophomore quarterback J’Mar Smith is preparing to take the reins of the offense this season and is set to make just his second career start in the season opener versus Northwestern State. Smith played in seven games last year as a redshirt freshman, including starting the season-opener at Arkansas.
“It was a good day out there today,” Smith said. “It was our first scrimmage coming out here and we are just trying to execute at the highest level, move the ball and not turn the ball over. It was good to see where we are at and where we need to go moving forward, but it is all part of the process getting ready for September 2.
On the opposite side of the ball, LA Tech defensive coordinator Blake Baker has seen improvement in his defense throughout the first two weeks of camp, while he has also been impressed with the work being put in by veterans Deldrick Canty and Jaylon Ferguson on the defensive line.
“I told the defense after practice today that we are headed in the right direction,” Baker said. “I love their effort, their attitude and toughness, but we are a long way away from where we need to be. We still have to improve communication and get better fundamentally every day. On the line, Deldrick and Jaylon have picked up where they left off last year and improved dramatically. That is what you want to see going into their fourth year.”
Louisiana Tech is gearing up to open the 2017 season by hosting in-state opponent Northwestern State at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7 at Joe Aillet Stadium in Ruston. LA Tech will spend Sunday recovering physically before beginning week three of fall camp on Monday.
“We are two weeks in and we have two weeks left of camp before game week,” the fifth-year head coach said. “Everybody gets excited at the beginning and the first week, but you have to fight like crazy week two and week three. They are going to be sore. It was a long scrimmage today. We are going to have to get a lot out of next week. We can’t get bored doing the little things. We just have to push through it and keep getting better. Those that do that are going to be the ones that keep improving. I know at the end of camp, everyone is going to be fired up for game week. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I want to see who falls in love with the process of being great and that is what happens in week two and week three.”
Louisiana Tech fans will have two opportunities to interact with the 2017 Bulldog football team prior to the start of the season as Holtz and Co. will participate in a pair of fan days.
Holtz and his Bulldogs will travel to Shreveport/Bossier City on Friday, Aug. 18 for the Freedom Fields Fan Fest starting at 4:15 p.m. Fans are invited to come out to the free event and watch a walk-through practice that begins at 4:30 p.m. Following the workout, the Bulldog players and coaches will sign autographs.
In addition to the practice and autograph session at Freedom Fields, fans will have an opportunity to buy official LA Tech merchandise, purchase season tickets, register their youngsters for the LA Tech Kids Club and interact with members of the spirit teams. Concessions and inflatables will both be on site.
The second fan fest is set for Saturday, Aug. 19 at the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston as doors will open at 10:30 a.m. Members of the Bulldog football team and the Lady Techster volleyball team will participate in autograph sessions from 11 a.m. to noon.
Fans can have their photo taken with the Armed Forces Bowl trophy and youngsters can enjoy the inflatable bounce houses. LA Tech fans can also purchase season tickets while LA Tech Kids Club registration and pickup will be available. Official Tech merchandise will be available while members of the Tech spirit squads will also be in attendance. Concessions will be open although limited items (water, tea, popcorn) will be available.
Following the fan fest, the Bulldog football team will scrimmage at Joe Aillet Stadium while the Lady Techster volleyball team will scrimmage at the Thomas Assembly Center. Both are free and open to the general public.
Louisiana Tech fans can now purchase season tickets for the upcoming 2017 football season as the Bulldogs coming off three consecutive nine-win seasons, three straight bowl victories and one of the most impressive home slates on the horizon next fall with a program-record seven home games at Joe Aillet Stadium.
Fans can purchase season tickets online at www.LATechSports.com/tickets or by calling the LA Tech Ticket Office at 318-257-3631. Fans will also have the opportunity to save up to $84 by becoming a season ticket holder rather than purchasing single-game tickets.
LA Tech also began selling single-game tickets for the seven home Bulldog football games at Joe Aillet Stadium.
Skip Holtz and Co. open the season Sept. 2 when they host Northwestern State at 6 p.m., followed one week later by a home match-up against SEC foe Mississippi State (Sept. 9). The Bulldogs will also host South Alabama (Sept. 30), Southern Miss (Oct. 21), North Texas (Nov. 4), Florida Atlantic (Nov. 11) and UTSA (Nov. 25).
Louisiana Tech fans can access the prices and purchase single-game tickets by logging onto LATechSports.com/Tickets. Fans can call the LA Tech Ticket Office (318-257-3631) Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. or can stop by the ticket office located on the concourse of the Thomas Assembly Center.
Group experiences are also available (subject to availability based on type of group, size and event type) and include: video board recognition, birthday parties, special group pricing, reserved block seating, on-field pregame photo, pregame field access, and the opportunity to reserve a tailgate spot. For more information on group experiences, fans can call 318-257-5152.