Bulldogs spring into action: Bulldog football splits into Blue and White teams for Spring Game face-off

June 29, 2017


Wide-receiver Rhashid Bonnette (86) dives for a catch in the end zone. – Photos by Jonathan Shaul

Bryn Young
Staff Reporter | bjy001@latech.edu


Louisiana Tech fans got a sneak peek at the coming 2017 football season Saturday, April 8 at Tech’s Spring Game presented by Dairy Queen at Joe Aillet Stadium.


Blue and White teams were chosen through draft by Louisiana Tech coaching staff.  Both the home Blue team and visiting White team demonstrated their talents, running over 140 plays as the Blue team came from behind in a 26-17 win. Though the team won merely bragging rights, the game gave both fans and head coach Skip Holtz a chance to see how players will react in game situations as well as answer some questions that have been looming since the 2016 season.


“There was some great work done out here today,” Holtz said. “This was a great evaluation putting guys in game-like situations just to see how they would respond. I thought some guys did some really good things today. I thought the crowd was great. I appreciate everybody coming out and it was a beautiful day for it. We still have a long way to go, but I really like the attitude, the energy and the way they are playing together.”


The biggest shadow for the Bulldogs this year is over the receiving corps following the loss of 1,000-yard receivers Carlos Henderson and Trent Taylor. A solution might be found in Teddy Veal, who transferred from Tulane, Marlon Watts and others already familiar to Bulldog fans.


Veal picked up eight catches and 120 yards on the day which started out with a touchdown on the opening drive as quarterback J’mar Smith showed off his arm, speed and a chemistry that led to several gains of 10 or more yards throughout the day.


“We talked about how when Trent Taylor and Carlos Henderson were gone, somebody has to step up and pick up that slack,” Holtz said of his receivers. “I thought Marlon Watts made some big plays out there today. I thought Javonte Woodard went up in some 1-on-1 situations and came down with some balls. Teddy Veal made a bunch of catches and Alfred Smith did a good job. Marcus Gaines made some catches today, so I think it is going to be much more by committee with a group of wide receivers rather than have just one or two targeted like the last couple of seasons.”


Quarterback J’mar Smith (8) runs the ball under pressure from defensive end Matthew Ydarraga (95).

Holtz said he was impressed with his starting quarterback’s performance but is still hoping to find a suitable back-up as neither Price Wilson nor Jack Abraham have improved enough over the spring to take up the mantle.


“J’Mar Smith has done a great job of picking up the offense more and more and making good decisions,” Holtz said. “He is definitely a weapon with his feet as well as his arm. I think as he continues to train his brain to be able to read it, throw it and also run with his feet, it potentially has the makings of a really dangerous quarterback for opponents.”


The most exciting of the day’s events came not from beautiful catches or Ephriam Kitchen’s late interception, which was the only turnover of the day; instead, it came as Bulldogs got a glimpse of running back Jaqwis Dancy as he returned to the field following his battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 


Dancy recorded a 24-yard reception from Price Wilson and a 23-yard run that was eventually recalled on a penalty. Though he might not have played long, it was enough to inspire hope for coach and fans.


“It was great to see Jaqwis out here,” Holtz said. ”You got to see a little bit of his elusiveness. I know nobody was happier to be on the field than he was today. With the battle he has fought, he is down about 15 pounds right now, but he is going to gain his weight back and he had the opportunity to get out there and get in a couple plays. We tried not to give him more than two or three plays at a time, but when he has the ball under his arm he has the chance to be really explosive.”


Dancy enjoyed his time back on the field in a game-like situation too.


“The feeling was just amazing,” Dancy said. “Everything is just so surreal being back out here. It really feels great and gave me more passion to play with.”


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