How much heartbreak can LA Tech take? Hopefully, no more as they prep for Rice

October 26, 2017

First, it was the Jonathan Barnes game-winning field goal blocked as time expired. Louisiana Tech had an extra week to think about how that one got away. And then it was a double-overtime defeat at home Saturday, where the Bulldogs led Southern Miss for 56 minutes before coughing up the lead and the eventual win.

How much heartbreak can a team handle? For Louisiana Tech’s sake, hopefully a lot. It’s been a rough three weeks for the Bulldogs, four if you want to include that near upset of South Carolina. But now, head coach Skip Holtz and company have to circle the wagons and get ready for a Rice team with an identical Conference USA record as the Dogs.

One of the obvious problems for Tech right now is the inconsistent play under center. J’Mar Smith’s completion percentage has dropped under 50 percent in the month of October and Holtz he hasn’t been playing with the same confidence he had at the beginning of the season.

“In talking to him, I think he is over-complicating things, thinking a lot and trying to be perfect. One of the things I love about J’Mar is his quest to be as good as he can be. He wants to know everything going on. He is doing some great things, but I also think one of his biggest strengths right now is his biggest weakness. Right now, I think he is overthinking things. J’Mar is best when J’Mar just plays. I think he was cautious. He did not want to put the ball in danger. But still, you cannot play afraid or cautious. We have to get more production out of our passing game for us to be the type of team we want to be this fall,” said Holtz.

With two conference losses so far this season, the Bulldogs can’t afford to have any more slip-ups. LA Tech is at Rice on Saturday. Kickoff at 2:30.