Auburn Football: 5 Louisiana Tech Players to Watch This Week

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Aug 30, 2014; Norman, OK, USA; Louisiana Tech Bulldogs quarterback Cody Sokol (19) throws during the first quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

#19 Cody Sokol, 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Senior, Quarterback

He’s only been in Ruston a few months, but senior quarterback Cody Sokol has already become one of the most important players on the field for the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.

For the team to have any means of success after last year’s disappointing 4-8 season, LA Tech will need improved quarterback play. So far at least, Sokol has provided that – and he has exceeded the expectations of his head coach.

“I think Cody Sokol is much better than I thought he would be,” Tech head coach Skip Holtz said last week. “I felt in talking to everyone that he was going to be a good quarterback. Watching him go through camp and seeing his understanding of football, the way he sees the field and his decision-making has impressed me.”

Last year, the Bulldogs quarterbacks weren’t great decision makers. Ryan Higgins, Sokol’s backup, started six games as a freshman and threw 13 interceptions. Of course, the senior has not been immune from mistakes either – he’s thrown five picks in four games – and he didn’t get off to the world’s best start.

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  • “I thought early he was tight,” Holtz said following the season opener against Oklahoma. “I think he wants it so bad and he’s a fifth-year senior. I think he was probably steering the ball a little bit rather than just playing the game.”

    That night against the Sooners, who like Auburn are ranked among the nation’s top five teams in both the Coaches Poll and the Associates Press Top 25, Sokol completed 22 of 36 passes for 191 yards, two touchdowns and was intercepted once. It was the beginning of what has been an early roller coaster of a season for Sokol and his teammates.

    After the 48-16 loss to the Sooners, Sokol responded nicely the following week and led Louisiana Tech to a big 48-20 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Next, the senior put together his best game with five touchdowns against C-USA foe North Texas, which gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 start to the conference slate.

    However, Sokol and the Tech offense continued their up and down performance when they fell 30-27 to FCS opponent Northwestern State last Saturday.

    Sokol was intercepted three times against the Demons, and the quarterback was able to complete 20 of his 34 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown that day. He was also sacked ten times, which pushed the season total to ten. It is difficult to find open receivers and make confident throws as a quarterback while being constantly harassed by oncoming defenders.

    Regardless of the play of his offensive line to this point, Sokol believes he has found the right spot to finish his collegiate playing career.

    “When I was going through the recruiting process again after I told Iowa that I wanted to transfer, the coaching staff here, that was the biggest thing,” said Sokol.”I wanted to go to a place where I not only had a chance to start but also I wanted to look at the depth chart and see what I had around me. The best situation I could go into. They (Louisiana Tech coaches) had nothing but good things to say about a lot of players on this team. I think I bonded with the guys on my visit.”

    Sokol will continue to bond with his teammates this week against a tough Auburn Tigers squad. Then, he’ll attempt to lead them through a competitive slate of seven consecutive Conference USA games.