Skip Holtz was introduced as Louisiana Tech's newest head coach at a Friday afternoon press conference, and he certainly looked the part. After previous head coaching stints at Connecticut, East Carolina and South Florida, Louisiana Tech marks Holtz's fourth stop as a head coach. He holds an 88-71 in 13 years as a head coach.
As a coach that has held the top job at three institutions previously, Holtz has a clear idea of what route he wants to take with his staff.
"We're going to have to put together a staff that does a good job of recruiting this talent-rich state of Louisiana," Holtz explained. "After doing this (for so long) you have a little bit of a rolodex of coaches that you've worked with. We need some coaches and some recruiters, I don't think you have a staff full of either. We're going to need some Louisiana ties and we're going to need some Texas ties."
Holtz indicated that he was looking forward to taking some time off and wasn't pursuing any open jobs but was intrigued by the chance to coach at Louisiana Tech. He met with Louisiana Tech officials on Tuesday of this week, and things happened quickly after that. "I wanted to talk about the opportunity with my wife," said Holtz. "I landed in Tampa at 1 p.m. on Thursday, and by 5 p.m. (my famiy) was at the mall buying red and blue."
One of Holtz's first comments noted the progress the Bulldogs have made not just on the field, but in the classroom.
"I'm excited to continue to build on the academic success that's been built here because ultimately that's the number one goal that we have, to graduate every player that plays here," said Holtz.
Louisiana Tech will leave the WAC and join Conference USA in 2013, a league Holtz spent five years in as the head coach at East Carolina. He led the Pirates to Conference USA titles in 2008 and 2009. "Nothing will make me more excited than to put my third Conference USA championship ring on my fingers after one of these years," he said.
Holtz noted that Louisiana Tech will only have two carryover opponents from its 2012 schedule. "There's a lot of excitement and a lot of great challenges with that."
Holtz will inherit a roster that has settled into a very productive identity, but loses 31 seniors to graduation.
"Both Coach Dooley and Dykes have spent six years recruiting to this offense, and they've done very well. I love the passing game. I love the enthusiasm and the up-beat tempo."
As successful as the Bulldogs' offense was in 2012, the defense struggled to keep up. Louisiana Tech ranked 120th nationally in total defense, 117th in scoring defense, 107th in pass efficiency defense and 85th in rushing defense.
"There's going to be games where you say, hold on we've got to outscore them," said Holtz. "There's going to be some games when you have to protect your defense and slow things down on offense. Not leave what we do, but not snap the ball with 28 seconds left on the play clock."