Running back position well-stocked at Louisiana Tech
RUSTON – Louisiana Tech football fans will have to do some studying in getting to know to the new offensive playmakers on the team, but one position they will not have to worry about relearning is running back.
With the departures of guys like Ryan Higgins at quarterback and the dynamic wide receiving duo of Trent Taylor and Carlos Henderson, there are two RBs who will be returning to Joe Aillet Stadium to carry the rock for a fourth year – Jarred Craft and Boston Scott.
“In the running back room, I love what the leadership of Jarred Craft and Boston Scott bring to the table,” head coach Skip Holtz said. “They have both played, they understand the offense, they know what we are doing. They are playing solid, protecting the ball. I am really proud of how they have continued to develop.
“I think having two seniors with the experience, mindset and the knowledge of what we are doing right now as an offense and as a program has been invaluable. It is one of the strongest points of our football team right now because of the depth and the senior leadership that both Jarred and Boston are providing.”
Mother Nature yet again pushed the team off the practice fields to inside the stadium for practice No. 10 of fall camp in shells and shorts. For Scott, this camp has a little different feel to it. For one there is new running backs coach Tony Ball.
“I think the focus is a little different,” the redshirt senior said who averaged 7.4 yards per carry last season for 515 yards. “Coach Ball has been doing a great job coaching us, treating every day as a professional. Every day is not just a practice rep, it is a game rep, focusing on our fundamentals and doing everything with purpose like we are out there playing a game. We have been doing a great job of preparation. We just need to keep going and carry the team when our number is called.”
For as much as the passing game has been high octane in recent years, the ground game has been just as much a staple at LA Tech. In seven of the last nine seasons, the Bulldogs have had a 1,000-yard rusher. Craft joined that elite group last season, rushing for 1,074 yards with nine touchdowns.
“We felt like we had to take control of the offense,” the senior said about coming into fall camp this year. “Not even just the offense, the whole team. I feel like me and Boston should be the ones really enthusiast about practice and everything. Just coming into this season, that is what we wanted to do, build leadership and I think that is what we are doing.”
Coach Ball, who brings over 30 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level, has inherited a high-character group which has made the transition very smooth for him.
“You’ve got an outstanding program and you’ve got great people within the program,” Ball said. “That always makes things go smoothly. It has been a pleasure working with them because they are a wonderful group of young men. There is great character in that group.
“The running game has been solid and that is what we have to continue to do. Obviously, you are playing with different personnel from a year ago. Not only do we have to be solid in the running game, but we have to be very sound in the passing game in protection and route running. We have to be multi-dimensional as a group.”
Providing depth at the position this season will be the return of redshirt sophomore Jaqwis Dancy who is coming off a victory versus stage 3 Hodgkin lymphoma. There is also freshman Israel Turner who redshirted last season due to a knee injury as well as sophomore Dee Fleming.
For the rest of fall camp, the key for Scott and the rest of the running backs room will be paying strong attention to the little things to keep this offense and this program heading in the right direction.
“As long as we pay attention to the little things, the big things will take care of themselves,” Scott said. “I think the biggest thing we want as an offense is to be able to come here and pitch it to first base, make the routine play. It is not going to be a matter of talent, it will be a matter of focusing on the little things. We will be able to compete with any defense out there.”
The Bulldogs will return to practice Friday morning, followed by their first scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday.
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