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March 21, 2012
RUSTON -- Dave Clark recorded a pair of interceptions and continued to lead the secondary as Louisiana Tech practiced in full pads on a soggy Wednesday afternoon at Joe Aillet Stadium.
Although the rain had stopped falling in Ruston by the time the team began its 4 p.m. practice, the conditions still challenged the Bulldogs. The wet turf had drained most of the water but was still somewhat slick and some wet footballs gave Tech conditions similar to two games the team played in last fall.
"We had rain most of the day but the good thing about our field here is that it drains really well," head coach Sonny Dykes said. "I honestly thought it would be more of an issue but we had good footing. We had to deal with a couple of slippery balls but it wasn't a big deal. It was a good practice for us. Obviously we are going to play in some rain games; we played in two last year. Anytime we get an opportunity to come out and practice in a little bit of weather I think it is good."
Quinton Patton continued to make big plays, making nine catches and at least two touchdowns - after one of which he ran up the hill and rang the bell in celebration - as he led the offense but it was Dave Clark's performance in the secondary that stood out.
"We need to get some guys to emerge opposite Dave Clark," Dykes said of the cornerback position. "Dave has really been solid at corner. It seems like every day he gets three or four interceptions and today was no different. It is good to see him creating those kind of turnovers and making plays. WE just need to get somebody to emerge."
Freshman Brice Abraham has been running reps alongside Clark and facing some of Tech's best receivers, like Patton. Gaining experience against a receiver that caught for over 1,800 yards last year will be invaluable as the rising redshirt freshman challenges for a spot on defense.
"The great thing about Bryson is he is a really smart, competitive guy who gets better every day," explained Dykes. "We were able to redshirt him last year and we think he has a really bright future. He just has to keep improving and getting better. The good thing is he is going against some pretty good guys like Quinton Patton, D.J. Banks and Jacarri Jackson. Those guys are pretty tough to cover sometimes. So he is going against good people which is just going to make him better."
As fast-paced as the offense is running right now - and it appears to be fast-paced - there are still some speed bumps preventing the full potential from being unleashed. One particular speed bump is the transition to a new position for some players. D.J. Banks, for instance, is one particular example.
"He played inside receiver at Tulane and he is playing outside receiver here so there is a bit of a transition," Dykes said of Banks. "Right now he is thinking a little bit, probably more than he will this fall and he will play a little faster then. He just needs to keep learning things and getting more comfortable at that spot. After 15 practices this spring and the work he'll likely do over the summer, I think he'll have a chance to be a really good outside receiver for us this fall."