Bulldogs look back on favorite moments before 90th Homecoming

November 8, 2015


Coach Skip Holtz lifts the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl trophy–Photo courtesy of LA Tech Athletics Communications

Coach Skip Holtz lifts the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl trophy–Photo courtesy of LA Tech Athletics Communications



Staff Reporter | amh072@latech.edu


To some, football is all about the highlights and crazy moments on the field.


The crazy catches and acrobatics are what stick in people’s minds. It makes sense as those are the main reasons some viewers watch.


However, to others, football can be about not only highlight plays, but the growth of the team as well. And as the 19th Homecoming Football game at Louisiana Tech approaches, some reminisce over those moments and growing pains.


Vernon Butler, a senior defensive lineman, said his favorite moment on the gridiron at Tech was last season’s bowl victory.


“My favorite moment would have to be our Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl victory,” Butler said.


Tech defeated Illinois 35-18 in the game, proving a team from the Conference-USA could hang with Big Ten opponents and that the eight wins the team had coming in were no fluke.


Butler said the moment means so much to him because it was where all the team’s hard work last season paid off.


“It was great to get the win,” Butler said. “To win a bowl game where we had come from the year before (ending up with a record of 4-8) was special.”


Butler said winning the bowl game showed what the team was made of.


“The win showed where we came from,” Butler said. “We grinded through long summer days with (head strength and conditioning) coach Hester. Guys were hurt and tired, but we kept pushing and got the job done, and that offseason success rolled over into the regular season.”


Holtz said he concurred with Butler that the bowl victory was a great moment.


“The Heart of Dallas Bowl was a great victory for us,” Holtz said. “After what had happened the season before there was a great sense of achievement amongst everyone.”


Holtz said the way the team conducted themselves against UTSA this season made him proud and is something he will never forget.


“I loved the class and sportsmanship in the UTSA game,” Holtz said. “Especially after previous matchups with them where things got chippy, where guys were vocal at each other, to see our guys and their guys help each other up was great. We have an opportunity and obligation to represent this university in an orderly manner that we do not take for granted.”


Holtz also said beating ULL handily twice for in-state bragging rights sticks around in his mind.


“Both games over ULL have been satisfying,” Holtz said. “You look at all the (trash) talk between the two programs, for us to come out on top in such lopsided,  bragging rights games was good.”


Holtz said he could think of plenty of great plays and moments on the football field all day long, however, the moments off the field are the ones that mean the most to him.


“My favorite moments are watching guys develop and to be in the locker room after a game,” Holtz said. “Especially after a win, to look around and talk to the team, to see the excitement, joy, and stories in every set of eyes is special to me. I have sat in most of the living rooms of these players; I have recruited most of these men to come here, so I know the adversities they have had to overcome; whether it be personal, health, or academic issues, to see them come out on top are the moments I enjoy in coaching”


Holtz said two particular stories that stick out in his mind are Butler’s and Jeff Driskel’s.


“You look at guys like Jeff (Driskel) and Vernon (Butler),” Holtz said. “Those guys had to overcome a lot. To see guys like Jeff overcome circumstances like he had at Florida and to now see the respect his team has for him. Those are the things I love the most.”


Driskel struggled to find consistency at Florida and transfered to Tech to play out his final year of eligibility.


Butler said moments off the field stick out to him as well.


“I will always remember the pre-game speeches,” he said. “Coach gets us fired up for the game with a good speech. I will always remember the emotion in the room.”


Tech plays North Texas in the 90th Homecoming game.


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