By Hunter Corneliseun, Louisiana Tech Associate Director of Strategic Communications
RUSTON – Daily progression and attention to detail on and off the playing field has been a big theme for the Louisiana Tech running backs and defensive secondary in their two weeks of fall camp.
In the secondary, one thing that has stood out so far has been the high energy level and competition on the practice field.
“Our guys have been flying around and having fun and a lot of energy,” Cornerbacks Coach Marcus Walker said. “One thing about our guys and this team is that they love to practice and compete against each other. There has been a lot of back and forth each day at every position on both sides of the ball. Guys are having fun.”
At cornerback, the Bulldogs return a multi-year starter and preseason All-Conference USA selection in Cedric Woods.
“Off the top, Cedric brings a lot of experience,” Walker said. “He is one of those kids who has come in and started from the beginning. He has a ton of experience and has been in many different situations. He is a quiet kid but has numerous leadership skills and is a great person.”
Stephen F. Austin transfers Myles Brooks and Willie Roberts are expected to make an impact at corner for the Bulldogs this season. Both played under defensive coordinator Scott Power for multiple seasons while with the Lumberjacks. Brooks tied for the team lead with four interceptions last season and Roberts led the team with eight pass breakups while recording two interceptions.
“When it comes to newcomers, every day we have had a different person step up and impress,” Walker reflected. “It has been fun to watch those guys move around and compete.”
Safeties Coach Paul Turner has been pleased with his group’s efforts so far and has clarified the importance of fundamentals and attention to detail in practice.
“So far, we have had a solid camp,” Turner stated. “We continually try to piece together things for us on the back end. It is important to focus on the little details and communication.
“We have to clean up a lot of our alignments and some of our assignments and our technique. I have seen some really good things like us getting our hands on the ball here and there, but for us to be the defense that we want to be, we just have to continue to stack up good days and hone in the details.”
At the safety position, LA Tech has experienced veterans in BeeJay Williamson, Jaiden Cole and Myles Mason. Williamson was a Second-Team All-C-USA honoree a year ago.
“Beejay’s presence has been very big for us,” Turner remarked. “Having a veteran group with Jaiden Cole and Myles Mason is also big. Having a veteran room is good for the younger guys to see their work ethic and how they are in the classroom. Hopefully, they will continue to lead the secondary back there.”
“Our newcomers have been a good nucleus so far,” Turner reflected. “They have all made some plays, but with us constantly installing a brand-new defense to some guys that just got here this summer, their worlds are spinning a little bit.
“We have to make sure we hone in when in the meeting room and stay on top of our installs each day. I have continually seen daily progress and if we continue to focus on the little things we will be okay.”
On the offensive side of the ball, LA Tech brings some experience back despite losing leading rusher Marcus Williams Jr. to graduation. Redshirt senior Greg Garner, junior Keyon Henry Brooks, sophomore Harlan Dixon and sophomore Marquis Crosby all return.
“I am excited about our running backs,” Running Backs Coach Peter Hopkins said. “This room has progressed and has done the fundamental things to put themselves in a position to do really well. We are going to be fun to watch and you will see a physical and fun brand of football. You are going to see us having fun.”
Throughout fall camp Hopkins has drilled his running backs on the importance of being physical and showing toughness.
“We talk about putting the T back into Louisiana,” Hopkins added. “That T means take and make it right. We want to do things the right way and put that T back in Louisiana. The T stands for toughness, tenacity and togetherness.”
Going forward, Hopkins believes that his running backs performance can inspire the Bulldogs of tomorrow.
“Our guys have worked their tails off this summer to put themselves and their bodies in position to take the toll of the running backs room,” Hopkins added. “We have a lot of talented guys in this room and we have done a good job of recruiting to bring in more talented guys. Right now, our guys are setting the stage for the future Bulldogs and the guys who want to be Bulldogs.”
Tech is 15 days from its season opener on Sept. 1 at Mizzou. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.
Single game tickets are on sale now for the 2022 Louisiana Tech Football season, which features five home games at Joe Aillet Stadium.
The Bulldogs’ home opener is set for Sept. 10 when they host Stephen F. Austin at 6 p.m.
— Featured photo courtesy of Louisiana Tech Strategic Communications