Tigers Contend with La. Tech Before Arkansas

''It has been an interesting few days. I think that it is time for everybody to get back to business. But, it has been a fun few days for the team and coaches and I'm sure all the fans. It will be a game that we will all remember. We need to get back down to business. Probably my toughest job as a head coach over the last few years is getting the team ready to play again.

Not just the team, also the fans. We won that game, the one the week before, and the one before that because of the team and the fans' enthusiasm. That doesn't need to stop now. We need to keep on, keepin' on. So I am asking our fans to put that back in their memory book and let's get on with the season because we have some tough games coming up and it starts this week.

''Louisiana Tech is coming to town and they gave us all kind of trouble last year. They are probably one of the better offenses we have seen in the last three years and they have most of their players back. They do a great job on their offense. They moved up and down the field on us. We were very lucky that we had Rudi Johnson who was able to rush for over 200 yards to control the ball some amount of time. I thought that was the difference in the ball game.

''But they play a very potent offense that runs a lot of different things. They run a lot of screen passes. They throw the ball down the field. They have a very good quarterback and their receivers are outstanding. So it is the same scenario as last week. We are going to have to play above our heads on defense, a lot better than what we did last week and probably better than we did last year, because we have to tackle a lot better. We didn't tackle very well last year when we played Louisiana Tech. They made us look bad in a lot of areas. And again a lot of that had to do with their athletes they had. They were very athletic and they made plays. This week we are going to have to be a much better defensive football team. We are going to have to put pressure on the quarterback, which we didn't do that last year. We are going to come up with some new blitzes and some new things where we can hopefully be a little more effective.

''When you see them on film it really scares you to death because they are on a roll. They scored over 40 points last week and they've scored over 30 on average in each game. They played Fresno State down to the wire and should have beaten them. They should have beat Okalahoma State. They fumbled a punt in the end zone at the end of the game to lose that one. So they are one of the better teams that we will play this year. And I know a lot of people will say ‘How can that be?' I'm telling you that looking at them on film—by how they are playing, the way they are coached, and their enthusiasm—they have a good football team and it will be a battle to the end.

''Their defense has been a little more susceptible to giving up plays. But they are better than they were last year. They are playing the run a little better. Overall, just looking at their 11 or 15 that they put on the field, they look like they are more comfortable with what they are doing.

''One big concern we have as coaches is getting over this last game. And of course, our second concern is playing another very good team this week. I think it will be a fun game for everybody. Again, it is our Homecoming and our Senior Day. Our senior parents will be introduced before the game. There will be a lot of festivities. So we have a lot to overcome other than the big game last week and playing the game. We've got a lot of other things to go through.

''We are excited about where we are in the conference. We are 4-0. We are a lot better off now then what people would have thought at the beginning of the year. I see now where everybody is saying that ‘Auburn is a shoe-in to win the west.' We have a tough schedule in front of us. We have one conference game at home and three on the road. We are going to have to really improve to be effective in any of those games. I do like our situation and like where we are at. The only thing I don't like is that now we have a target on our back. We are not going to surprise anybody. We'll get everyone's best game and I think that is what our players are going to have to learn. Now is the time we are going to have to start playing better. We haven't played as well as we could have on offense. On defense we are improving. Our kicking game has been sporadic, but we have made some progress there. We just need to keep getting better.

''Our young guys played well last week and they are going to have to do it again. We are learning a lot about this football team because of a lot of different things. Mainly because of injuries and we are having to play different players which will make them grow up a lot quicker than we wanted them to.

''There's another game coming up. It will be a thriller so grab hold and hold on.''


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