RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz, graduate offensive lineman Kellton Hollins and sophomore defensive lineman Deshon Hall spoke with the media ahead of LA Tech’s game against SMU on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 2:30 p.m. CT at Joe Aillet Stadium.
On the Southeastern game:
“It was nice to win. They say don’t ever take winning for granted. Fifty percent of the teams in the country lost last week. I’m excited we were able to get a win. A week earlier, we had a lead at Mississippi State and weren’t able to hold onto it. I was proud of the way the team was able to finish the game on Saturday. It certainly wasn’t a perfect game as we talked about in the past. We are really a work in progress with so many new faces and what we’re trying to do. There were a lot of good things in this game.”
On the defense against SLU:
“Starting on the defensive side of the ball, BeeJay Williamson played really well. He was all around the ball. He created two fumbles. He had two interceptions. One of them he scored on. He had a great individual performance. Levi and Ben Bell continued to be really solid up in front on the defensive line. Our linebackers are playing really well right now when you talk about Trey Baldwin, Tyler Grubbs and Maki Carabin. They’re really doing some good things. Defensively, it certainly wasn’t our best effort. We got on our heels a little bit. We started reeling. We missed some basic, first day installation, staple-type things and checks we have to be able to make. Box and their bunch sets to where we weren’t getting rubbed in everything. We did not execute very well as a defense. I give Southeastern and Frank Scelfo a lot of credit. They played a really good football game. I was really impressed with Cole Kelley. He’s as advertised not only with his size but the way he stood in the pocket and some of the throws he made all over the field. We have to get better at defense. We’ve had an awful lot of things we have to correct this week because it’s going to be a great challenge. We’re playing another explosive football team.”
On the offense against SLU:
“Offensively, I was proud of the way the offensive line played. The way they protected the passer. The way they were able to run the ball with the running backs. Marcus Williams continues to get better and better in the system as he rushed 99 yards on the day. It was nice to see Harlan Dixon get started. Greg Garner stepped in and certainly made his presence felt scoring a number of touchdowns even though he didn’t have a bunch of touches. Austin Kendall keeps getting more and more comfortable. Some plays that he looks really comfortable sitting in the pocket. There’s some we have to eliminate some of the mistakes like the interception before the half and things like that. He continues to get better.”
On the special teams against SLU:
“Special teams, there were some good and bad for sure. I was really proud of the way our punt team covered having two balls downed inside the 10-yard line which really made a long field. Our kickoff coverage team did a much better job after last week at Mississippi State. They did a nice job and starting them on the 19-yard line inside the 20. There’s some things to build on, but certainly we still have a long way to go and have a lot of corrections we’ve got to make. We have to get better. Defensively, as we got our heels and we started reeling. We made some uncharacteristic mistakes we have to get cleaned up. Offensively, having two drives and 91 yards for touchdowns and three drives for 75 yards , there’s certainly some positive things to build on.
“When you look at where we are right now after two games, we’re 1-1. We’ve got to continue to get better. We’re certainly not where we need to be as we want to get there for the open date as we start getting into the conference play after the open date.”
“This week is certainly going to be a challenge with SMU coming into town. Sonny (Dykes) has done a great job building that program from where it was when he took over about three years ago. You look right now and he has his best team since he’s been there. They’ve added some really talented transfers on this team and they are a very senior-laden team right now on both offense and defense. They return about 19 starters out of their top 22 from a year ago. They played 10 games and were 7-3 last year. They’ve added a transfer quarterback from Oklahoma that’s playing really well with his arm and with his feet. They’ve got all five of their offensive linemen are back. Three of them are all-conference players. Their tailback last week rushed for 141 yards on 10 carries. He averaged 14 yards a carry against North Texas. He’s a very explosive running back with a really solid, big, senior-laden upfront. They’re running the ball really, really efficiently. The quarterback threw for over 300 yards. They have a first team all-conference wide receiver. They have a transfer from Oklahoma who was all-Big 12 as a tight end who is a big target for them. He has three touchdown catches through two games. They’re averaging 45 points right now through tow games. They’re a very explosive offensive football team. You can see coach Dykes handprint all over it and what they’re doing offensively has really been impressive.
“Defensively, they’re every bit as impressive. They’re averaging 45 points a game. On defense, they’re only giving up 10. They hired Jim Leavitt as their defensive coordinator from FAU who was a head coach at South Florida. He was very successful with the 49ers. Was a coordinator at Oregon, Colorado, FAU. They’re playing really hard for coach Leavitt. The defense is not really complicated with what they do, but they lineup and they play it and they’re really physical at their game.”