Wednesday Rewind: Holtz talks Tech

Louisiana Tech came away from its season opener in relatively good health although the big question surrounds the status of wide receiver Isaiah Graham.

On Monday night during his weekly radio show, Skip Holtz provided an update on Graham, who left the game on a cart in the final minute after recording a 13-yard reception on a fourth-down-and-11 play that kept the Bulldogs hopes alive.

“Not as bad as we thought,” said Holtz on Monday night. “It’s not broken from (what we see on) the X-ray. Sometimes a break is better than a real bad sprain. We are just trying to get the swelling out of (the ankle) and see how soon we can get him back. Right now, it’s just a sprain. Hoping it’s not a high ankle sprain …. Hoping to get him back as soon as we can. He is a great young man. Unbelievable attitude. Played his tail off for us the other day. I just thought he did a tremendous job.”

Graham caught three passes for 41 yards, including the clutch 13-yarder with less than one minute to play that gave the Bulldogs one final chance.

In addition to the update on Graham’s status, Holtz talked to the media Tuesday almost 72 hours after walking off the field at Davis Wade Stadium and having the opportunity to consume the game film from the 35-34 loss.

“It’s a first game,” said Holtz. “I always say in a first game you learn an awful lot about your football team. We’ve talked a lot in the offseason about the number of additions we made to this team and how we all needed to be on the same page and pulling the rope in the same direction. I was really proud of the way they’ve come together. The way they competed. Their effort.”

Tech coaches – and fans – saw plenty of positives during the slugfest that saw the two teams use big runs throughout the game. State jumped up 14-0 before Tech reeled off 34 straight points to take a 20-point advantage. State then rallied for 21 unanswered to pick up the victory.

“Unfortunately, as exciting as it was and as fun it was and the wave of emotions (everyone felt) from being down to then being up to ending up losing the game … having the opportunity at the end to win it, it certainly was a game that had a huge range of emotions in it,” said Holtz.

The Bulldogs had one last opportunity in the waning seconds to pull off the memorable victory, but Jacob Barnes’ potential game-winning field goal attempt was blocked.

“Unfortunately, it was a bit of a low kick with some penetration and they got a finger on it,” said Holtz. “It doesn’t diminish or take away from the excitement I have about this football team right now. I always tell them you have 24 hours to mourn and 24 hours to celebrate. I need to heed my own advice because this one is going to be hard to get over, but we have to.”

Tech returns to action Saturday when the Bulldogs host Southeastern Louisiana at 6 p.m.

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Photo: Darrell James

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