The Louisiana Tech football team took to the practice fields for the first time in the Bulldogs' first spring practice of the season Friday afternoon at Joe Aillet Stadium.
Head coach Skip Holtz, now in his second season at Louisiana Tech, and his staff put the Bulldogs through an in-depth workout that lasted a little over two hours to begin the first of 15 spring practices.
"I love the effort, the attitude and the way they are running around out there," Holtz said. "We have a lot of development still to go. We have about 20 new walk-ons that are out here and running around for the first time. It is nice to see some of the carryover with the upperclassmen, but there are a lot of new faces out here that are going through it for the first time. Overall, I like the way they came out here and worked."
The Bulldogs' three quarterbacks in Scotty Young, Ryan Higgins and Andy McAlindon all saw equal action in the first practice since the season ended in November with each player attempting to secure a starting spot come next fall.
"I have always said that you earn your job in the spring and it is yours in the fall," Holtz said. "I think those guys are going to have to take it if they want it this spring because when we get to the fall there will be a lot of new faces here at the quarterback position and other positions as well. If they want that starting position, they have to secure it now."
On the defensive side of the ball, the new-look coaching staff included defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, defensive line coach Oscar Giles and safeties coach Blake Baker, who all were able to step foot on the field for the first time with the Bulldogs.
"Diaz knows the game and knows what he wants to do defensively," Holtz said. "He knows what he wants and what he wants his players to do. He comes out on the field and coaches with great passion. I love the energy that he coaches with because that is where it all starts."
Overall, Holtz said the goal of these spring practices is to gain confidence with the incoming players and returners, while also developing the depth chart in preparation of next season.
"We have to set a standard that we hold everybody accountable to. Not just us as coaches but the peer pressure to hit the standard we are all trying to reach. In this sport you get what you earn. We have an awful let still to earn."
All spring practices will be held at Joe Aillet Stadium or the Tech Practice Fields with all dates and times subject to change. The NCAA allows each football program to hold 15 spring practices sessions and for Louisiana Tech that will culminate in the annual T-Day Spring Game on Saturday, April 12 at Joe Aillet Stadium.
The Bulldogs will hold a closed practice this weekend followed by the third practice of the spring, which will be open to the media and public, scheduled for Monday afternoon.