RUSTON, La. – Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz spoke with the media Tuesday in advance of this week’s Homecoming game versus UTEP at 2:30 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 20 at Joe Aillet Stadium in Ruston.

Head Coach Skip Holtz

Opening comments:

“Looking back to UTSA last week, I was really proud of the bounce back performance of our football team after what we did with UAB out here at home. I am really proud of the leadership and the way the players kind of took over. You can see it happening during the course of the week in the way that they practice with their focus, their energy, the questions they are asking, the things they are saying. I thought they were really dialed in and really determined.”

On being consistent throughout the season:

“We have to make sure that we can be consistent in what we do. When you start talking about the mark of championship teams, consistency is one of the keys, that each and every week they are going to prepare in the same way and we can’t be ready at North Texas and have a letdown the next week against UAB and not play as well and then come back and put together arguably our best performance of the year. I’ll also say that nobody wants to lose, but if you can learn something in a loss then it makes you stronger as a football team and that is going to help us as we continue to go forward. I felt like there was an awful lot of lessons to learn in the loss against UAB. One in how we handled our controllables. Our intangibles, our attitude, our effort, our toughness and our togetherness; I thought it was much better. Playing on the road is hard, but you need all those things to be very positive to be able to win on the road.”

On the difference between slow starts versus UAB and UTSA:

“I felt like when we were at home, we got a little panicked. I made the comment in here last week that I felt like we have been a little bit spoiled in scoring a lot of points and guys started pressing a little bit and probably got a little negative. They get a little frustrated. Where in this game I thought it started out in the first quarter with the opening drive getting a good kickoff return, taking the ball down the field, scoring and then kind of hit a little bit of a lull at the first quarter. It had some of the same feelings that the UAB game did. But then I was really proud of the way they were able to bounce back, put it together, score a couple more times to make it 17-0 at the half. I was just really proud of the way that they bounced back.”

On the performance of the defense at UTSA:

“I felt like defensively, we played for 60 minutes. We played a really solid football game to hold our opponent to three points on the road in a very difficult environment to play in the dome. I was just really proud of what the defense was able to do with the way that they played.”

On the improvement on special teams:

“In the kicking game, I thought it was our best performance. We actually won the net punt and we won the net kickoff, which is the first time that has happened all year. Outside of a missed field goal, I thought our special teams is improving and playing much better. Some guys that maybe have not played a lot of football for us are really starting to dig in and find a very valuable role for us on special teams.”

On turning the focus to UTEP:

“It was great to win. I am proud of what this team was able to do on the road. With the UAB game, as we talked about, we were not going to wallow in self-pity, but at the same time we cannot gloat past our 24 hours with the win. Winning is hard and you have to be excited when you win, but you have to come back and you go to the drawing board and get ready for this UTEP team.”

On the improvement of UTEP over the last few weeks:

“I’ve been asked how do you get a team up for a team that is 0-6. Everybody starts talking about where the after party is going to be, what are we going to do here. It is Homecoming, so where are we going after the game, but our focus right now is on UTEP. That is where our focus is. I think we learned some valuable lessons on how important it is to be consistent and prepare for each opponent. Now one of the things that definitely helps us when you look at this team chronologically in the order of their games. They got beat early. They got beat pretty soundly early as the new staff came in and trying to identify what they can do. I think the buy-in factor with this team is very strong. They are getting better and better. They have had a chance on the last possession of the game to win both of their last couple games. They lose to North Texas 27-24 and I thought North Texas really had to play well in the second half to be able to do that. They found themselves losing that game. This is not a team to take lightly. They play extremely hard. They play extremely physical. They have really bought in to what they are doing as a football team right now. They are playing multiple quarterbacks. The quarterback got hurt at UTSA and then came out and the backup (Metz) came in against North Texas and threw for over 300 yards. They had over 400 yards of offense and scored 24 points. I think this is a dangerous team and a very talented team.”

“I think Dana (Dimel) has done a great job of getting this team ready each and every week. Obviously, he has done a great job of getting these guys to buy in because even at 0-6 they are playing extremely hard and coming off an open date. They have had a chance to get healthy, get some guys ready to go and I am sure that they will come in here and we will get their best shot. Believe it or not, but even as an 0-6 football team, I think they are playing with an awful lot of confidence right now with the way they have played the last couple weeks and they have to be encouraged.”

Closing remarks:

“We know it is going to be a challenge as it is each and every week. We’ve just got to do what we have to do to get ready this week to go play the football game.”



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