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March 20, 2013

Tech begins to find its stride offesively

RUSTON - Louisiana Tech's offense began to show signs of creating a rhythm as the team practiced for just over two hours on the Tech Practice Fields Wednesday afternoon in Ruston.

With the offensive game plan continuing to be installed and players getting more and more comfortable with the playbook, a pair of veteran receivers continued to make highlight-style plays as they rose above the rest.

[Related: Practice No. 4 Notebook]

"Paul Turner and D.J. Banks have had a great 'season' so far when you go back to the 10 winter workouts we had and with the way they are leading and working," head coach Skip Holtz said. "Today, some guys showed up with the ball in the air. One of the things both Banks and Turner have the ability to bring is their running ability after they catch the ball. They are both elusive, they are both quick, they both have the chance to make something happen with it once they catch it and that is one of the advantages of to running the spread. We get the ball to our best athletes in space and we give them the opportunity to do something with it."

The ability for Banks and Turner to make impressive plays came with a much better practice out of the team's two centers, Alec Davis and Johnny Ginart. Monday's practice featured several bad snaps that had the offense sputtering through the two hour session with the inability to start a play.

"The snapping was much better today," Holtz recalled. "Before we couldn't run a play in team because the balls were on the ground, they were over the quarterback's head; they were to the left and to the right and it was like you have to be a half-gymnast around here to get a snap. But the guys have worked at it and I think Coach [Matt] Moore has done a great job working with our guys. At least if you can get a decent snap, you have a chance to run a play. You have a chance to put everything together but if you can't get a snap right then we are wasting 22 guys' time out there on the field. It is an important part."

The ability to make plays on offense also came from improved play by quarterback Scotty Young. A product of Ryan High School in Denton, Texas, Young joined the program last year after transferring from Texas Tech. Young is beginning to the show the ability to become the leading quarterback for the Bulldogs.

"I think what Scotty Young did yesterday and today shows he has a chance to be a really good player. Obviously we are a long way away from the position where they are really ready to be evaluated. But he is showing signs of taking control, stepping in the huddle, being an upperclassman, taking charge with the offensive line and stepping up as a leader. That is showing with his play."

In addition, running back Kenneth Dixon showed why he was a Freshman All-American in 2012 and chosen by the Touchdown Club of Columbus as a National Player to Watch in 2013.

"We kept blowing the whistle today anytime there was initial contact because we don't want anyone to get injured but when Kenneth Dixon was running I must have said that when this becomes live they are still going to have to try and tackle him. The defense is getting there and putting their hands on him but when you look at some of the moves he's made; it is not hard to see why he was such a phenom as a freshman and what he was able to do on the field," Holtz said of Dixon.

After a pair of practices in full pads this week, the team will practice in shells in Joe Aillet Stadium Friday afternoon.



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