Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications
Nothing signifies new beginnings better than springtime, and despite the not-so-spring-like weather, Louisiana Tech football officially ushered in the Sonny Cumbie era Tuesday afternoon inside Joe Alliet Stadium.
Tech kicked off the first of 15 spring practice dates which are set to culminate with the annual Spring Game on Saturday, April 23 at 11 a.m.
Even with the elements, there was a certain energy in the stadium as players started to make their way onto the field and that energy continued to build throughout the day. A new season is always exciting, but a new season with so many new faces seemed to bring an extra level of excitement and enthusiasm to the field.
“I thought overall our players had a great energy and focus to what we were trying to accomplish today,” said Head Coach Sonny Cumbie. “There was a lot of learning and we have things we will need to clean up, but we did not have any pre-snap penalties on offense or defense today. That tells you the guys were concentrating and paying attention. I was very proud of how our players came out for day one.”
Tech not only welcomes their new head coach but nine new position coaches as well as several new support staff members. With so much newness uncertainty can often follow, so a big priority for today was the amount of prep work that went into this first session.
“There was a lot of preparation that went into today, going back to about two weeks ago,” said Cumbie. “There is a lot of coaching the coaches on what we are doing, where we need to be on the field, and the why behind what we are doing so we can all reach a level of understanding to then teach the players.”
One familiar name in a new role is former Tech wide receiver Paul Turner. Turner lettered two years for Tech during 2014 and 2015 then spent the last two seasons on the coaching staff as a defensive graduate assistant in 2020 and a defensive analyst in 2021 before being promoted to a full-time assistant.
“As a player, you just want to make sure you can come out here and perform, physically,” said Turner. “Now as a coach, I get to help these guys see the game through my eyes as a former player. Things like helping them get lined up, understanding scheme, and helping them tweak little things to improve their game day in and day out.”
When asked about balancing nerves and excitement of the first day, cornerbacks coach Markus Walker said, “It’s always a great feeling to be able to get back on the grass. It was so good to see everyone fly around and compete. Our guys had a lot of juice today, but they were focused.
“I think there were nerves but I think our guys handled that really well today. Coach Cumbie did a really good job of making sure everyone knew where we were going and that alleviated some of that anxiety. I feel like we were very prepared and it allowed guys to just focus on getting used to each other and adjusting to the speed of the game.”
Tech will hit the field for two more practices for this first week of spring on Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning.
“The goal for these first three practices was to create some familiarity, continuity, and settle everyone in to begin creating routines that we can be build off of,” said Cumbie. “I wanted to keep things as similar as possible so they can get into a rhythm and routine of practice and not change a bunch of things up from period to period or day-to-day. A big goal these next two practices is simply to get better and better with our transitions from drill to drill.”