DeClouette snares a TD in Louisiana Tech scrimmage

Staff Report

RUSTON — Louisiana Tech’s defense showed its ability to make plays and is improved from last season as it dominated in Tech’s second spring scrimmage April 6 at Joe Aillet Stadium.

The team scrimmaged for just more than two hours and ran around 150 plays.

Overall, the defense created 10 turnovers in 26 drives and had two touchdowns — a pick-6 and a fumble return.

Overall, the offense scored 27 points to the defense’s 14.

“Today was definitely full of emotion, much better than the last time we came out here on the field (for a scrimmage),” Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz said in a university release. “It was full of emotion, and it was full of turnovers. There were a lot of plays that were made out there today as it was about a 150-play scrimmage. You get excited about some of the things our defense did, but as soon as you get excited about the defense, you have to start looking at it and say ‘That is our offense.’”

Holtz said the challenging thing about spring ball is trying to evaluate whether a team’s defense is really good or its offense is really bad.

Defensive coordinator Kim Dameron’s unit was especially strong to start, with six turnovers in the first 11 series with another four series forcing the offense to turn the ball over on downs. Only once in the first 11 series of the scrimmage did the offense score and that came when a cornerback fell down covering former Patterson High School standout Jaydrick DeClouette in the end zone as DeClouette hauled in the 15-yard pass from Ryan Higgins.

Just a day earlier, Holtz had good things to say about DeClouette.

“For a guy that hasn’t played at all, he is a relative unknown,” Holtz said. “He didn’t play last year, and to have him come out and show some flashes as a young player, he really has a great opportunity to make a contribution on this team for this fall.”

In Saturday’s scrimmage, the first score by the defense came in the fifth series as Adairius Barnes intercepted Scotty Young and ran it back 40 yards for the score on a wrong route ran by the receiver.

Eight series later, Aaron Brown hit quarterback Zach Griffith and forced a fumble, while Devon McKinney scooped up the recovery and ran it back seven yards for the touchdown.

After DeClouette’s touchdown, it took the offense seven more series to score and that came off a 50-yard field goal by walk-on kicker Kyle Fischer. The second offensive touchdown came in the final series before “halftime” as Paul Harris connected to Rickey Courtney for a 21-yard touchdown pass.

Midway through the “second half” T.J. Kijack hit a 26-yard field goal for the second of two field goals the offense scored. The drive, which started on the defense’s 20-yard line, had the opportunity for another offensive touchdown, but DeClouette slipped and fell in the end zone as Young’s pass fell incomplete.

The first two series of the scrimmage ended in a fumble by Marlon Seets, which was recovered by Le’Vander Liggins, and Colby Brown intercepting a pass off of Young. Ryan Higgins was intercepted by Bryson Abraham in the 11th series, and the quarterback also fumbled after being sacked by IK Enemkpali, which was recovered by Shakeil Lucas.

That sack was one of the few by the defense as Higgins and Young showcased their ability to escape the pocket when under pressure and evade the sack while making a play.

“I think that is one of the reasons we have taken the red jerseys off of them,” explained Holtz Saturday. “Let’s let them get out here and block. They are going to get hit in a game, and they took some shots out here today. They took some shots, and they have proven their toughness not only to me but to this football team. Every single day they stand back there and do the things they are doing, but I am very encouraged by their mobility and their escape-ability with some of the plays they were making with their feet.”

For coverage of Bulldog football, follow @LATechFB on Twitter or visit LATechSports.com.

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