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Driskel, QBs shine in Tech football spring practice

March 26, 2015

 

ALEX HEARD 


Staff Reporter

 

Spring is here which means one thing: no, not rain nor pollen, but instead football.

DRISKEL

DRISKEL

 

The pads are back on as spring practices for the Louisiana Tech football team have begun.

 

Tech head football coach Skip Holtz and his staff look to use this time to examine their team and see how they can respond to a strong 2014 campaign, which resulted in nine wins and a Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl victory.

 

The Bulldogs did not lose many players from last year’s team thus, many key components are returning. One of the few glaring questions about this Tech football team is at the quarterback position. Can the Bulldogs find a viable replacement for Cody Sokol at quarterback?

 

There are three quarterbacks competing in spring practice: University of Florida graduate transfer Jeff Driskel, junior Ryan Higgins and redshirt freshman Price Wilson.

 

Driskel, before transferring to Tech, was one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country at the high school level and committed to Florida as one of the nation’s top signal callers. However, his tenure at Florida was forgettable, as a myriad

HIGGINS

HIGGINS

of injuries and a revolving door at the offensive coordinator position prevented him from reaching his potential there.

 

Holtz said Driskel has had no problem adjusting to the playbook at Tech.

 

“I could not be more pleased with Jeff (Driskel) and how he has picked it up coming here,” Holtz said. “He has had this playbook for five days and has made some reads and throws that have really been impressive.”

 

Holtz said he has been impressed by Driskel’s decision-making and ability to make good decisions in the pocket.

 

“He has done a good job of protecting the football and seeing defenders,” Holtz said. “I wanted to learn how he processes, how he reads, how he throws, his decision-making, and whether he puts the ball in danger. I think he has done a great job with it.”

 

Holtz said he has also been impressed by Driskel’s commitment to the team and his ability to be a sponge, soaking up all the information he can in order to enhance himself and the team.

 

“Jeff is vocal, he is here early, he comes in and studies film,” Holtz said. “When he is not in class, he is asking (offensive coordinator Tony) Petersen for extra meeting time. He has been a consummate pro how he is approaching this thing. I have been impressed by the way he has handled himself. He is putting in a lot more time than many of the people on this roster right now.”

 

Petersen, who is also the quarterback’s coach at Tech, said Driskel’s professionalism can be credited to the people and events from his past.

 

“He does everything the way you want him to do it,” Petersen said. “Obviously he was raised right by his family, he has great parents. He came out of high school with great work ethic and went to Florida and continued that.”

 

Petersen said being at a high-caliber school like Florida helped sculpt Driskel into the player and person he is.

 

“You can tell he has been at a big-time university and has done it right for a long time,” Petersen said. “He does all the little things the way you want them done, there is not much bad you can say about him as far as how he works.”

 

Petersen said Driskel and Higgins have quite the quarterback battle going on.

WILSON

WILSON

 

It is Higgins’ third year at Tech. He struggled as a starter in 2013 when he came in for an injured Scotty Young and barely led Tech past Division Two opponent Lamar. Yet Higgins has the advantage over Driskel in the sense that he has more experience in Petersen’s offense and the continuity helped him.

 

“Ryan (Higgins) has had a lot of reps in our offense for almost two-plus years and he is getting better all the time,” Peterson said.

 

Holtz said Higgins’ progression has been impressive.

 

“I think Ryan is growing up,” Holtz said. “He has had a good camp and is not going away quietly. I think he has a great knowledge of the offense and an awful lot of reps in it, he is feeling really comfortable and doing a nice job.”

 

The odd man out in the competition is Price Wilson.

 

Holtz said Wilson has all the talent in the world but he does not have a complete mental grasp of the game yet.

 

“Price has had some flashes of brilliance and some flashes of a redshirt freshman,” Holtz said. “I think No. 10 is really going to be good here one day, we just have to bring him around mentally.”

 

For more on Tech athletics, follow the Tech Talk Sports Desk’s Twitter page at twitter.com/techtalksports.

Email comments to amh072@latech.edu. 

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