RUSTON – Louisiana Tech scrimmaged for under two hours at Joe Aillet Stadium as the team effectively closed fall camp last week.
The team had one final shorts practice last weekend that will be focused more on the conditioning of the players rather than any game planning. That game planning practice began as game week started Sunday night with a closed practice.
The team was not only battling the general soreness of 18 straight days of practice but also hot weather as the temperature on the Field Turf surface of Joe Aillet Stadium eclipsed 106 degrees during the scrimmage.
“It, well it looked like one of the last practices of camp,” said head coach Skip Holtz. “They are sluggish at this point and I think they are tired of hitting each other. It is hard when you are going ones and twos, twos and ones and trying to simulate a scout team when you are trying to be in a scrimmage situation. But I thought they pushed through it and we got a lot of good film to watch. We just didn’t have the emotion and the spirit that you want to have. It was hot out there today which is good that we got the opportunity to go at 1:30 in the middle of the heat. Sometimes that heat can have the tendency to drain a little bit of energy out of you. They are great learning lessons and a lot of things we can talk about and build on from here. It will be great film to watch – a lot of mistakes that were made on offense, defense and special teams that we will be able to correct.”
The first portion of the session was dedicated to working on the kicking game as Louisiana Tech tries to replace a four-year starter at kicker and the first back-to-back winner of the Ray Guy Award at punter.
“It all concerns me,” Holtz said of the kicking game. “In all honesty, it all concerns me. I don’t think we punt the ball with the consistency we need, nor do I think we kick the ball with the consistency we need to be a great team. It is something we are going to have to keep working on. You are punting the ball 50 yards one time and the next one goes 18 yards off the side of his foot. I just don’t know what to expect. I would rather have 40 yards every time than I would have a 50 and a 20. I just think we are still a long way away and we are not going to really be able to have a great feeling going into game one but we will hope for the best for sure.”
The rest of the session was focused on running through different line-ups and situations so the coaches can build a final depth chart as the team enters preparations for North Carolina State.
“We will watch the film,” Holtz said of evaluating the several on-going position battles. “It is so hard to tell; there are so many of them you can’t watch the left guard every single play and the right tackle every single play. We will have to watch the film to see where it is but looking at the big picture overall, I thought they went out there and played hard. There just wasn’t the emotion in it that I would like to see. From a fundamental standpoint and a depth chart standpoint, we will grade the film and put it together. We will compare the grades, make our decisions by Monday.”