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Louisiana Tech takes the stage at CUSA Media Day

July 20, 2017 GMT

IRVING, TX - A good indication of steady growth for a program is the caliber of recruits you sign and the number of wins you accumulate and under the leadership of Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech has done both in spades and it’s a big reason why they’ve been picked to repeat as Conference USA west division champs.

“We see, we hear it, we just don’t want to get the big head and just say ‘oh we have it’ we want to earn it. We don’t want just anybody to just give us the reputation like that. We want to go out there and win it and show people what we’re made of,” said quarterback J’mar Smith.

“We try not to think about it, but we know everybody is gunning for us so we just try to work out extra harder with an edge on our shoulder knowing that everybody is going to give us their best shot. It pushes us to go even harder to know that we’re going to be competing every week,” added safety Secdrick Cooper.

The one thing LA Tech hasn’t been able to accomplish is win the Conference championship game, and that shortcoming is driving them for 2017, “We’ve had the goal of a conference championship three years, I mean every year, it’s why you get into a conference so you can play in that conference championship game. We have come just short. I mean we’ve been in the final game, we’ve been in the championship game twice now and have not been able to win it, but when I also look at that it’s hard for me to look at it and say we’ve failed,” explained Holtz.

“It’s a burning desire man, they’ve been there three years, I’ve been to one with Western Kentucky when we lost and we know what it takes. We know what we have to do so we have to keep working hard, keep pushing ourselves in fall camp, give us a chance to keep fighting, keep grinding because we have a month before school even starts so we can put all our focus in football,” said Smith.

“I think this football has got the sting and the pain of a loss the past couple of years that have kept us away from achieving that ultimate goal and that drives us more than the preseason predictions,” added Holtz.

The Bulldogs opening game against Northwestern State is set for September 2nd.