Experience flashes for Bulldogs during spring practice; LA Tech roundup

LA Tech’s defense rushes the passer in a recent practice. (Photo by ASHLEY SPRINGER.)

Staff writer

It was the talk of the town last season … Louisiana Tech’s football team had only one returning defensive starter.

That is not going to be the case for the 2021 Bulldogs.

The defense is littered with experience to the tune of 10 returning starters, six of those belong in the front seven.

Head coach Skip Holtz said the linebacker position, in particular, is one of the stronger positions on the team right now as spring practice winds toward the April 24 spring game.

And who could argue? The squad returns all three starters including senior Trey Baldwin, senior Ezekiel Barnett and freshman Tyler Grubbs.

“They’re doing a great job this spring of not only being productive on the field, but leading. They’re leading a young football team that has some new faces on it and they’ve been doing a nice job.”

Baldwin was named Second Team All-Conference USA after finishing second on the team with 85 tackles. Barnett was an All-Conference USA Honorable Mention selection, tallying 49 tackles and two interceptions. And Grubbs burst onto the scene in the season opener at Southern Miss and went on to become a Freshman All-American, registering a team-best 99 tackles with nine tackles-for-loss.

“We’re building depth and becoming the leaders of the defense,” Baldwin said. “We’re becoming better leaders and trying to take that leadership role.”

Opposing offenses beware.

HOOPS TEAMS ADDING PIECES FOR NEXT SEASON: The basketball seasons ended less than a month ago for the Bulldogs and Lady Techsters and the head coaches are already adding pieces for the 2021-22 season.

Tech men’s basketball coach Eric Konkol has announced the signing of two backcourt transfers — Keaston Willis from Incarnate Word and Kasen Harrison from Lamar.

Willis, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard who has earned Second Team All-Conference honors and was the SLC Freshman of the Year in 2019-20, will join LA Tech after ranking second in the Southland Conference in scoring this past season, averaging 19.0 points per game.

Harrison, a 6-foot-1 freshman guard, averaged 13.1 points per game while shooting 48 percent from the field, 48 percent from beyond the arc and 81 percent from the foul line.

“Keaston is a powerful playmaking guard,” Konkol said. “He is an explosive three-level scorer who can get to the paint to create for teammates. Kasen is a skilled and clever guard who plays with an attacking mentality. He finishes around the basket with either hand and is an efficient shooter.”

On the women’s side, coach Brooke Stoehr added to her backcourt with the signing of Pitt transfer Gabbie Green.

Green, a 5-foot-7 senior guard, played two years at South Plains College before playing the past two seasons at Pittsburgh where she started 47 of 48 games while averaging 8.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.

“Gabbie has spent the last two years competing at a very high level against some of the best players in the country,” Stoehr said. “She has the ability to defend at a high level and can stretch the defensive with her ability to shoot. Her experience will be a tremendous asset to our team.”

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