Skip Holtz was ready to hit the practice field with his team last March when the college athletics world — the entire world — came to a screeching halt due to Covid19.
Fast forward one year.
The veteran Louisiana Tech coach is just as excited — if not more excited than in years past — to walk out onto the turf at Joe Aillet Stadium Friday afternoon to start spring ball.
Tech is coming off a season that saw the Bulldogs maneuver through the COVID-19 minefield and earn their seventh straight bowl berth before falling to Georgia Southern in the New Orleans Bowl.
Although two years removed from the last spring practice, Holtz said he doesn’t foresee much different in 2021 albeit a few new assistant coaches and some new faces.
“It will be pretty much the same,” Holtz said. “We have to adjust to two new coaches with Coach (Dave) DeGuglielmo (offensive line) and Coach (Perry) Carter (defensive backs). We have to give them a chance to get their feet on the ground with the offense and the defense and the terminology.
“We are just talking about treating it like its Day 1. On Day 1 we are starting all over with installation. Going back to two plus two equals four. I think the NCAA passing a new rule a few weeks ago giving us 10 hours instead of eight enables us to add a couple more hours in the meeting room and walk through. That has been invaluable for some of these new players to go through it mentally.”
Tech announced last week the addition of four Division I transfers to the roster, including running back Marcus Williams (Rocky Mount, N.C./Appalachian State) and defensive backs Baylen Buchanan (Lawrenceville, Georgia/Tennessee), Elijah Hamilton (Roswell, Georgia/Vanderbilt) and Myles Mason (Trussville, Alabama/Arkansas).
Those four will join a nucleus of returners as Holtz hopes to utilize the spring to build team chemistry while getting important reps for a number of position battles.
“It’s not about having 85 guys on your roster,” Holtz said. “It’s about having the right 85 guys on your roster. Making sure you have the mix of experience and newcomers so the learning curve early in the season isn’t so great.
“We started all over (on) Jan. 1. It’s a new year. Not being able to go through it last year will be an eye opening experience for some of these underclassmen, just like the winter workouts have been. I think it is needed. I think they are excited about it. They are tired of doing drills and competing against each other. They are ready to get out on the field and roll the balls out on the grass and play the game.”
Season tickets for the 2021 Louisiana Tech football season are on sale now. Fans can purchase season tickets online at LATechSports.com/tickets or by calling the LA Tech Ticket Office at (318) 257-3631.
Fans who purchase or renew their season tickets by end of business day today (Wednesday) will be able to attend the first-ever “Meet The Bulldogs presented by Origin Bank” on Friday.
Photo by TOM MORRIS