August 7, 2011

Fall practice day 1 eve with Sonny Dykes

Louisiana Tech begins its fall camp practice tomorrow at 6 p.m. on the practice fields. Head coach Sonny Dykes said he expects battles at every position except for maybe two. Those two positions are to be expected for anyone who has followed Tech football for a few years.

"I expect to see battles everywhere really," Dykes said about position battles during the fall. "There's probably 2 or 3 guys who are safe and that I feel real comfortable saying they're going to start. Maybe a Matt Broha and a Stephen Warner a center and after that all the spots are all open and will be fought for. That's what you want, you want to have competition," Dykes added.

The position battle that will be watched closest for most is the quarterback battle. Could it be open to all 5 quarterbacks or have a couple already stood out to he and the coaches?

"We're just going to see where everyone is, Zach Griffith and Tarik Hakmi both are coming off of shoulder surgeries and I think both of them should be pretty healthy. We'll kind of see where they are quickly and make a determination on whether they will be healthy enough to help us and compete. If they are, we'll throw them in there and see what happens and if they aren't that will narrow things down a little bit for us. We'll see how that position takes shape. The thing about our quarterbacks is they throw so much in practice that we have the opportunity to evaluate them early from the time they walk on to the field until the very end of practice. It's a great chance to evaluate guys and let the cream rise to the top," Dykes said of the quarterback battle.

Tevin King is a guy that is in Ruston and ready to play football for Tech and surprises some out there that he did get eligible, but Dykes is not one.

"Well, not really [surprised King got eligible], I think that's one of those things. He had some work to do, he had a great plan, and we did a pretty good job recruiting him in terms of showing him we had a plan for him to get eligible and exactly how we were going to do it. Then, of course, he had to do all the work. He did a great job this summer of taking care of the classes he was supposed to take care of and did a good job of preparing for the ACT which he passed on his first go around. So that was encouraging," Dykes said.

Tech returns an offensive line with lots of experience and should really help stabilize whatever quarterback is behind them.

"Well, [the offensive line] is where it all starts in football is with the offensive line so if you can have depth and be good at both of those positions then you're going to have a good football team. We've got some good experience coming back and those guys played pretty solidly for us last year. Then we've got some guys we think are talented that need to come on and contribute," said Dykes of his offensive line.

Last season, Tech's defense really struggled to stop the pass. This summer, they moved Ryan Williams to strong safety to try and sure up the defensive backfield.

"I think [moving Williams to safety] will help. Any time you can move your best athlete to the middle of the field it allows him to play more freely. It allows him to cover more area, I think that was a bit of an issue for us was range on the backend, [Williams'] has range and he's a good tackler so I think it gives us freedom to do some more things with coverage because [Williams] can play man coverage where our safeties struggled with that at times last year ," Dykes said of how moving Williams to safety will help his football team.

King cannot practice just yet as Tech works out the final questions from the NCAA for him to clear their Clearinghouse.

"We're still waiting for him to get fully cleared by the NCAA, he won't be able to practice tomorrow, but we think it's just a matter of them signing off on a couple of things. They've asked us for a lot of information over the last two weeks. We'll send them something and they'll say they need more so we'll send more and so we're still waiting for him to be officially cleared but we expect for that to happen," Dykes said about King's eligibility through the NCAA.

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