RUSTON, La. -- It is well documented that Louisiana Tech is 9 points from being 4-0 but instead sits at 1-3. The Tech offense however is clicking more and more with each game.
The play of Quinton Patton has a whole lot do with it. Patton currently ranks ninth in the country with nearly 119 yards receiver per game.
"[The] bottomline is you have someone [Patton] on the field that can score when he touches it," said Franklin after a recent practice. "You have some who can go down the field and go get it; someone who can compete for the ball and win; someone who can turn a two yard pass into a 50 yard touchdown. When he's on the field we're a lot better football team than we he's off the field."
Nick Isham is clearly becoming more comfortable but it has much to do with Patton.
"For a quarterback when you know that you have [a player like Patton] you just have to make sure that you're careful and that you don't abuse it," Franklin said. "You've got to read his body language and know when he's truly open."
Myles White went down with an injury that sidelined him two weeks (Central Arkansas and Houston). When he went down, Tech moved Richie Casey to outside receiver. The reason they were able to do this is because the running backs were playing so well and they wanted to find a way to get them on the field, now with the injury to Ray Holley they have to be more careful.
"We moved him outside and I think he likes it better and we had to because of the injury to Myles [White]," said Franklin. "At the time we were strong at running back and we wanted to try and get those guys on the field. Moving him outside was a way to get Ray Holley on the field all the time and Lyle Fitte on the field more. [Moving Casey outside] was a good problem at the time but now we've got a little bit more of an issue now. "
With the loss of Holley, which looks to be possibly for the rest of the season, Tech will look to get Fitte the ball more.
"We've got to get the ball in [Fitte's] hands more," said Franklin. "But you just have to be careful with Lyle not to wear him down and so we're trying to do that in practice especially. On gamedays he's such a good return guy that you have to be careful but he's dynamic with the ball in his hands so we've gotta get it to him more."
Lennon Creer is off to a good start with 411 yards thus far and an over 4 yards a carry average. Tech tries to get Creer the ball whether it is downhill or on the edge.
"The only thing you do is try to get him in other formations," said Franklin. "And get him in the I [formation], or what people call 'the pony', and let him run downhill some. He's good running downhill but he's also a good zone runner from the side. A lot of good NFL running backs right now were in spread offenses running the zone and I think it helps them when they get in the NFL."
Against Mississippi State, many weren't expecting Tech to be able to move the ball very well. The offensive line was able to step up and play well against a pair of good defensive tackles.
"[The offensive line] got better," said Franklin. "They needed to and did. They played faster and were more confident with what they were doing and how they were doing it. I was proud of how they competed. They've just got to continue to get better."
Some had suggested that Tech may not have opened up the playbook very much early on. Franklin said that was not the case. Instead, it has been like putting together a puzzle.
"Not really. I never do that," Franklin said. "It's kind of like building a puzzle and you start off and you think you know how the pieces fit and you stick it in and they don't fit so the next week you adjust a piece and you stick it in and if it fits it works. Usually by four, five or sixth game of the season when you've got some new players you figure out what everybody can do and you don't have injuries you start to get really good."
Franklin's key to the game is simple, they cannot turn the ball over and expect to win.
"Number one is don't turn it over; every time you turn it over you lose. If we don't do that we'll be fine," said Franklin.
Tech takes on the University of Hawaii tonight at 6PM inside Joe Aillet Stadium.
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