LA Tech boasts athletic offensive line during fall camp
RUSTON – As the start of the 2020 season nears, the Louisiana Tech offensive line can be described one way: athletic.
“They’re going to get it done,” redshirt senior running back Justin Henderson said. “This line is going to open a lot of people’s eyes. They’re going to help this team get to that top level that we need to be at.”
Henderson, who was named preseason all-Conference USA on Tuesday, is coming off of a 1,000-yard rushing season in 2019 after gaining 1,062 yards on the ground to go along with 15 rushing touchdowns.
“I couldn’t do it without God and my o-line,” Henderson said about the honor. “My boys really helped me a lot to get that award, so really it’s not my award, it’s their award, too. I give credit to those guys.”
Redshirt senior offensive linemen Kody Russey agreed the 2020 offensive linemen were more athletic.
“We’re going to be a fun group to watch this year,” Russey said. “We like to get nasty and play the game like it’s supposed to be played. I’m really excited for this group.”
Russey also earned preseason all-Conference USA honors after bolstering an offensive line in 2019 that among C-USA teams, ranked second in scoring offense (32.5 PPG), fourth in rushing (168.4 YPG), second in total offense (436.8 YPG), fourth in passing (268.5 YPG), first in third-down conversion % (41.4) and second in first downs (304). Two other Bulldogs earned preseason all-CUSA honors in redshirt senior defensive lineman Willie Baker and redshirt junior deep snapper Reeves Blankenship.
Head coach Skip Holtz said though Louisiana Tech wants size on the offensive line, the team also wants athleticism.
“We want big and athletic,” Holtz said. “That’s something coach [Kurt] Hester does such a great job with is getting those guys built up, but yet he maintains their functional strength and athleticism as well.”
The offensive line boasts seven returning letterwinners, including two starters in Russey and redshirt senior Willie Allen.
Holtz said the offensive line is athletic and has experience. Allen started in all 13 games of the 2019 campaign, while Russey appeared in all 13 and started in 12. Redshirt juniors Joshua Mote and Antawn Lewis also made appearances in all 13 games for the Bulldogs in 2019. Graduate student Donavaughn Campbell transferred to LA Tech from LSU where he appeared in seven games in 2019, including the CFP semifinal contest against Oklahoma.
“Those five that we’ve mentioned have been the five that are getting the bulk of the work with the one’s right now,” Holtz said. “But, some of those other guys are starting to work their way into the conversation.”
Holtz listed sophomore Christian Henderson, junior Michael Gause, redshirt freshman Walker Hankinson and redshirt junior Abraham Delfin as other o-line standouts during fall camp.
Holtz said though there are still some things the offensive line needs to clean up, he likes the attitude, effort and way the offensive line is playing together.
“We’re all just working to get better and working with each other,” Russey said. “It’s just a lot of communication and reps-on-reps-on-reps. So far, it’s been good as far as communication and working together as a unit.”
Season tickets are on sale through the Tech Ticket Office by calling (318) 257-3631. The University has announced a ticket assurance plan for football season ticket holders in preparation for the 2020 season at Joe Aillet Stadium.
In the event that any of the home football games are canceled as a result of the public health threat of COVID-19, season ticket holders will have the following options:
• Credit towards the 2021 home season (features six games, including a non-conference contest against SMU)
• Apply season ticket purchase to the Louisiana Tech Athletic Club (LTAC) as a donation for this year (100 percent tax deduction)
• Full refund on games that are impacted
At this time, LA Tech officials have not made a decision on any limited seating (i.e 50% capacity in Joe Aillet Stadium) but will look to make those determinations in the coming weeks as more information becomes available.
LA Tech will play a neutral site contest against ULM at Independence Stadium on Nov. 21 and ticket information for that contest (which is not a part of the Tech season ticket package) will be announced in the very near future.
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