After five straight weeks of one score ball games, the bye week was a welcome sight for Louisiana Tech as the Bulldogs got a little R&R prior to starting seven straight weeks of Conference USA games.
Head Coach Skip Holtz met with local media members on Tuesday during his normal weekly press conference and said the open date couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Having the open date last week was really necessary for us,” said Holtz. “We talked a lot during camp that we need to get through the first five games and get a good feel and see where we are. We used those first five games a little bit as a preseason on where we are right now when you talk about all the new faces we have.
“What are the transfers going to be like? How are they going to meld into the team? How are we going to jive together in all pulling the rope in the same direction? We talked about some of the challenges we’ve had.”
Tech is 2-3 heading into this weekend’s match-up against UTEP, an up-start Miners program that is riding high after winning five of their first six games. While Holtz did give his players a few days off in an effort to rejuvenate and rest, the Bulldog players and coaches spent play of time working on a number of areas knowing how important the next two months are.
“We had an opportunity to take two days this week and really take a hard look at ourselves in a self-scout as far as watching the whole season from a field position standpoint, down and distance, formation tendencies, what we do out of what formations,” said Holtz. “We really took a hard look at ourselves in getting ready for the second half of the season. It was a productive week where we really had an opportunity to evaluate ourselves. Then, we spent one day getting ahead on UTEP and one day getting ahead on UTSA. Then, we had the entire staff out recruiting on Friday. For the staff, it was a really productive week from that standpoint.
“With the team, we said going into the week that we needed some guys to get a lot of team reps. We did about a 40-50 minute team period every day last week and really got some of our depth guys and some of our younger guys a lot of reps as we tried to get them ready if we were to need them in the second half of the season. We felt like we needed to get some of the guys healthy. When you look at the number of reps the starting five o-linemen were getting, the defensive linemen, etc., we tried to take some of the pounding off of them.
“There were a lot of things we tried to get done during this open date. It was really productive for us. It really showed up on Sunday. When we came back and practiced on Sunday night, it was very energetic. This team is really excited to get into this second half of the season knowing we can correct some things and try to finish up a couple of these close games we’ve been in. The team is really excited to get into conference play and to get these last seven games going.”
Kickoff for Saturday’s game at the Sun Bowl in El Paso is set for 8 p.m. CT.
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