RUSTON – Louisiana Tech’s football team got the first-day jitters out of its system and practiced with a renewed sense of purpose and smoothness in the squad’s second practice of fall camp Tuesday.
The Bulldogs withstood the heat for two hours Tuesday afternoon in their final helmets-only mandated practice of fall camp. The NCAA mandates the first two practices of fall camp be helmets only with the third and fourth practices be shells or uppers (helmets and shoulder pads) only.
“We were much better today,” head coach Skip Holtz said of Tuesday’s practice. “I don’t know if there was just a bit of anxiety during the first day with a lot of new guys not knowing what to expect. I thought practice was much smoother today. It had a much more upbeat positive tempo to it and a lot more energy. I like what we came out here and got done. Right now we are just teaching and putting everybody in the right position so we can start making the evaluation in pads.”
The smoother practice made it appear that several players made improvements from day one but just grasping the concepts of the drills in practice and what the coaches expect out of the players makes a marked difference.
“Really they seemed just more comfortable in knowing where to go and what to do,” Holtz said of the newcomers. “It wasn’t so much about all the plays being made as it was that I thought it ran smoother with more energy. It’s just shorts, the energy level has been tremendous, they [the players] understand what we want and what the expectations are on the practice field.”
Looking at the defensive secondary, the players are already responding to defensive coordinator Kim Dameron in bringing a heightened level of tenacity and aggressiveness to the field.
“They are progressing very well but until we can evaluate those young guys with the lights on it is very difficult to evaluate them,” Holtz said of the secondary. “I do think we are making progress and making strides. There is good and bad when you say we have an entirely new secondary but when you look at our pass defense from a year ago, changes aren’t always a bad thing. I am excited to watch some of these guys step up. They are going to have a great challenge and a great opportunity at the same time.”
Louisiana Tech returns to practice on Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. on the Tech Practice Fields as the players don shoulder pads for the first time this fall.
Louisiana Tech will open the 2013 season at NC State on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 11:30 a.m. CT/12:30 p.m. ET in a game that will be televised on the ACC Network and simulcast on ESPN3.