Tech defenders did get a chance to work on run support as the previous coaching staff preferred to run with a heavy dose of Daniel Porter.
When Sonny Dykes was hired as Head Coach and he brought Offensive Coordinator Tony Franklin in from Middle Tennessee, everyone knew the Bulldogs would throw the ball more.
Add in SEC transfers Ahmad Paige and Tim Molton and Louisiana Tech defensive backs have a lot of opportunities to work on pass defense. Dykes also runs a very fast paced practice with roughly twice the number of plays being run compared to last year. To put it mildly, footballs were flying all over the place.
Terry Carter and Josh Victorian are making the most of it. The two seem to have a friendly rivalry going with Paige and Molton. Victorian went head to head with Paige several times. Paige came down with his share of balls, while Victorian knocked away some and even picked one off.
Coach Dykes singled out the two cornerbacks. "They have been one of the bright spots, defensively," he said. "Josh Victorian and Terry Carter have both been really consistent. Those are two of the guys that have really stood out so far and I have been really happy with their play. They have both made a lot of plays and are playing with a lot of confidence right now. I expect them to be a strength of our team."
It took a while for the quarterbacks to get in tune with the receivers. "I think our quarterbacks had one of their better days today," said Dykes. "We repeated another script today so it was the second time that they had a chance to practice those plays and you could tell. The receivers and quarterbacks are starting to get on the same page although we still have a long way to go. There's a lot of work that needs to be done but I think we are headed in the right direction."
While Doak Raulston was on the opposite end of the field working with the running backs, offensive line, defensive line, and linebackers; Colby Cameron and Steven Ensminger were able to get a lot of reps throwing the ball. Both players struggled early with the short routes, but they got things going as the practice went on. Ensminger made some nice throws down the middle to Eric Harper and down the right sideline to Ahmad Paige. Cameron hooked up with both Harper and Chandler Spence on some inside routes. Both Spence and Cruz Williams dropped a few early passes, but they started making the catch late in practice.
Sharman Brown, Richie Casey, and Hayden Slack made some nice grabs as well. Jaccari Jackson made some really good plays. The 6'3" redshirt freshman has really good hands and he runs well.
On the other end of the field, Lennon Creer looks as good as advertised. He and DJ Morrow give Coach Dykes a pair of really good options in the backfield. Morrow, from Palestine, and Creer, from Tatum, will represent East Texas well at Louisiana Tech. Both Raulston and Lyle Fitte showed good quickness when they ran the ball too.
Cudahy Harmon looked to be in good shape. The 6'7" senior showed quick feet as he went up against the defensive line. Shakeil Lucas stood out on a couple of plays for the defensive line.
Being the first practice in full pads, the players seemed eager to mix it up. Tony Franklin has really been working to get his receivers to play tough. On the other side, Defensive Coordinator Tommy Spangler's players know what they are expected to bring every day.
The competition for both sides will be good and you can tell everyone is having fun just being back out on the field. The first scrimmage is this Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and it's open to the public. Come see for yourselves.