LA Tech withstands head in first day in shoulder pads

RUSTON, La. — Louisiana Tech endured another day in the extreme heat as temperatures passed the 100 mark with players holding added weight as the team put on shoulder pads for the first time Wednesday.
 
The team withstood the hot temperatures added with the extra weight of the shoulder pads as camp continued through the third day and the coaches started laying out the playbook with the first of six main installation practices.
 
“There were some guys that fought through it, about 90 percent of them,” Head Coach Skip Holtz said of the challenge of practicing in such heat. “You have to learn to play this game when you are tired. It is not always when you are 100 percent healthy, not tired, fresh and it is the first play of the game. What are you going to play like when it is the fourth quarter during a 12-play drive? How are you going to play when you are tired? I know there were a lot of guys cramping up with the heat and the water weight that they are losing but I saw a lot of guys push through today. It is a process. We have 26 practices left, it is just day three, we have a long way to go and I am looking forward to every one of them between now and then.”
 
A lot of Wednesday’s practice was centered around installing the playbook on both sides of the ball. Being so early in practice, and still not able to have a full pads practice yet, the coaching staff believes it is too early to be accurate on who is rising above others in terms of a depth chart.
 
“There are a lot of guys I have been impressed with but it has only been day one and two in shorts,” Holtz said. “The question is how did they pick up the six days of installation? We are doing a whole-part-whole process where we put it all end, we go back and re-teach it in segments then we go back and make sure we have the whole thing done at the end. The game plan is not to be ready today but to be ready on Aug. 31.”
 
Despite the challenge of the high temperatures, the heat is providing an added conditioning element to the players in preparation for the first game of the season at NC State, which kicks off on Aug. 31 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
 
“That is one of the reason we are practicing at the time of day that we are,” Holtz explained. “We have had two or three of the hottest heat index days we have had this summer so far. One of the options we discussed as a staff was practicing at night where we go at 7 p.m. and try and get out of the heat. But if you go to Raleigh and it is 12:30 in the afternoon – I would much rather have to deal with the heat here during camp in Ruston than I would at 12:30 in the afternoon in Raleigh.”
 
Louisiana Tech opens the season on Aug. 31 at North Carolina State while the Bulldogs home opener is Sept. 7 against Lamar. To purchase tickets please call the LA Tech Ticket Office at 318-257-3631, email techtickets@latech.edu or visit LATechSports.com. The Tech Ticket Office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
 
For complete coverage of Bulldog Football, please follow @LATechFB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.
 
QUOTES
 
Head Coach Skip Holtz
 
“Day one in pads (uppers). They are still in shorts and like I said you can’t really evaluate a lot in shorts. What we were looking for today was to see who is going to push through when they are tired and who is going to push through when they are hurting a little bit.”
 
“It was hot out here today, we went an awful lot of snaps, we went at a really high pace and right now it is a little bit of organized chaos. It is not where it needs to be and we are not in the shape we need to be in – football shape. You can run all day and do all that you want but until you put the pads on and play football and strain your body the way you need strain it, you don’t know where you really are. I am anxious to see the improvements we can make from day one to day two (in uppers), like we did with the first day of shorts to the second but right now we are a long way away from where we need to be.”
 
On how the players responded to Wednesday’s physical practice:
“There were some guys that fought through it, about 90 percent of them. You have to learn to play this game when you are tired. It is not always when you are 100 percent healthy, not tired, fresh and it is the first play of the game. What are you going to play like when it is the fourth quarter during a 12-play drive? How are you going to play when you are tired? I know there were a lot of guys cramping up with the heat and the water weight that they are losing but I saw a lot of guys push through today. It is a process. We have 26 practices left, it is just day three, we have a long way to go and I am looking forward to every one of them between now and then.”
 
On the offense besting the defense Wednesday:
“Right now we are putting a lot in on both sides of the ball. There was one big play the defense gave up a busted coverage with some lack of communication but that is what camp is for – to watch that film tonight, to meet tomorrow morning, to have walk-throughs and to cover all the little things in order to get better and better. I think there are some guys that did some good things on both sides of the ball. It is a little too early, as you are rolling four teams, to start trying to make evaluations on where we are as an offense or a defense or who is farther ahead at this point.”
 
If that applies to player evaluations as well:
“It is day three and we have about a six day installation. Every day you are also reviewing what you put in the day before. It is kind of like math, if you don’t get two plus two is four, it will be hard to get the multiplication and division. That is where we are right now. We are putting more and more on them. I have really been impressed with Xavier Woods, Trent Taylor and Carlos Henderson. There are a lot of guys I have been impressed with but it has only been day one and two in shorts. The question is how did they pick up the six days of installation? We are doing a whole-part-whole process where we put it all end, we go back and re-teach it in segments then we go back and make sure we have the whole thing done at the end. The game plan is not to be ready today but to be ready on Aug. 31.”
 
On how the quarter system affects planning with the season starting before school:
“Right now we probably won’t push practice times back because we are still going to be in the 20-hour rule week (once game week arrives). The difference is when they are not in football, they will be able to get some sleep, they will be able to get off their feet, they will be able to get some rest. Right now it is not like we can stay in camp all the way to the first game because of the NCAA rules and regulations. Right now it is hard, it is hot, they are tired but the only way I know how to do this is to try and push through some of the difficult times and keep getting better and better. When we get to NC State week, they are going to have the opportunity to get off their feet a little bit more and get well rested before the game.”
 
On the camp practice times preparing the team for a 12:30 p.m. kickoff at NC State:
“That is one of the reason we are practicing at the time of day that we are. We have had two or three of the hottest heat index days we have had this summer so far. One of the options we discussed as a staff was practicing at night where we go at 7 p.m. and try and get out of the heat. But if you go to Raleigh and it is 12:30 in the afternoon – I would much rather have to deal with the heat here during camp in Ruston than I would at 12:30 in the afternoon in Raleigh.”