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2011 Louisiana Tech Preview – Offense
Louisiana Tech RB Lennon Creer
Louisiana Tech RB Lennon Creer
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 28, 2011


CollegeFootballNews.com 2011 Preview - Louisiana Tech Bulldog Offense



Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

Preview 2011 - Offense

- 2011 Louisiana Tech Preview | 2011 Louisiana Tech Offense
- 2011 Louisiana Tech Defense | 2011 Louisiana Tech Depth Chart

What You Need To Know: The Bulldog offense finished 49th in the nation, but it didn’t exactly do what it was supposed to. Everyone was expecting the Air Raid attack with passes flying around all over the yard, but the offense averaged a pedestrian 219 yards per game and was 88th in the nation in passing efficiency. The ground game, led by former Tennessee transfer Lennon Creer, was strong and carried the team over the second half of the season, and it’ll do it again behind a big line that needs a slew of JUCO transfers to play big roles right away. The receiving corps doesn’t have a ton of explosion, but it’s full of veterans and should be solid. The key will be the play of the quarterbacks, with Colby Cameron a better fit for the job than Ross Jenkins, who was okay, but not great. There will still be balance, but the passing attack will start to look a bit more like the coaching staff would like.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Colby Cameron
54-91, 461 yds, 1 TD, 5 INT
Rushing: Lennon Creer
212 carries, 1,181 yds, 10 TD
Receiving: Taulib Ikharo
50 catches, 530 yds

Star of the offense: Senior RB Lennon Creer
Player who has to step up and be a star: Junior QB Colby Cameron
Unsung star on the rise: Junior OT Jordan Mills
Best pro prospect: Creer
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Creer, 2) WR Taulib Ikharo, 3) C Stephen Warner
Strength of the offense: Running Back, Interior Line
Weakness of the offense: Line Depth, Quarterback Experience

Quarterbacks

Junior Colby Cameron started three games in 2010 before Ross Jenkins eventually reclaimed the starting role. Cameron showed solid mobility, but simply was not able to keep the ball moving. A 6-2 205-pound passer from California, he was much improved in the spring and showed a bigger command of the offense, accounting for five touchdown passes in just over one half of spring game action. A big-time high school passer with close to 5,000 yards with 47 touchdown passes in his last two seasons, he threw for 461 yard and a touchdown with five picks in his time last season with the Bulldogs.

Zach Griffith, a 6-3, 185-pound California native, transferred in from Fullerton College in the spring and looked decent in the spring game. While he’s a decent passer, he’s also a strong runner who adds more athleticism to the position. 6-2, 225-pound redshirt freshman Taylor Burch is a local product from Neville High School in Monroe, and he showed he might be the future after stepping up the depth chart this offseason. While he struggled at times with his consistency, he showed off a big arm during practices and showed the upside to possibly be the No. 2 man.

Watch Out For … Nick Isham. Isham is made for the role of a spread quarterback. The true freshman isn’t all that big at 6-0 and 185 pounds, but was the national high school player of the year after completing 73% of his throws for 2,990 yards and 34 scores.
Strength: Lennon Creer. Having a big workhorse at running back makes everything easier on the rest of the quarterback. If Creer stays healthy, the passing game will have a little time to work in a new quarterback. The pass-happy offense will force the new man to be good right away.
Weakness: The right guy … again. There is no returning starter to fall back on this year, even if Ross Jenkins was merely average last year. If Cameron and Co. can’t get it done, Sonny Dykes will have to pick one guy and stick with him; for better or worse. The team will have to live through the mistakes.
Outlook: Bulldog fans expected an air-it-out offense last season, but the personnel weren’t there to do it. It’ll come, and the passing attack will eventually shine, but it might take a while for everything to click. With a year in the system, offensive coordinator Tony Franklin had the offense looking a lot smoother this spring, but it’ll still take a while. The team made strides in 2010 and the emergence of Lennon Creer was a huge plus, but this might be a step-back season to take a leap forward for the quarterbacks.
Unit Rating: 5.5

Running Backs

Senior Lennon Creer came to Louisiana Tech with high expectations, and he started to look like it last year. The former Tennessee transfer has 6-1, 215-pound size and a good burst, and he showed it off a bit with a team-leading 1,181 yards and ten scores averaging 5.6 yards per carry. After failing to gain over 100 yards in the first five games, Creer managed to eclipse the mark in five of the next six contests. Tech went 1-4 in those first five games, but the Bulldogs managed a 4-2 record over the next six behind Creer’s efforts, and now he’ll be the workhorse again.

Senior Ray Holley is a fan favorite with his combination of nifty moves and gritty determination, and he showed it off a little bit finishing second on the team with 206 yards and two scores. The 5-9 190 pounder, can catch the ball, making 11 grabs for 98 yards, and now he’ll be used even more.

Tyrone Duplessis will likely be the third string back, coming back after missing most of last year hurt. The 5-8, 185-pound junior was just getting back into shape during spring workouts to get back into the mix, and now the smallish speedster has to show he can stay healthy and stay on the field to become a good all-around playmaker.

Watch Out For … Tevin King. The Georgia native is a home run hitting threat the offense has been missing for the last few years. If the 2011 signee can hit the ground running, he’ll add a new dimension to the Bulldog rushing attack. The 5-7, 160-pound pocket rocket can be used in a variety of ways.
Strength: Creer. He’ll be the focal point of the offense and he appears ready to handle the job. The Texas native has the size and he has the want-to to become the star of the attack, and one of the WAC’s key backs, and he’ll get as much work as he wants.
Weakness: not too much. A sure-thing No. 2. Holley is a terrific speed back, but he didn’t have to do much last year, and Duplessis is coming back from being out. If Creer goes down, the power is gone from the ground game.
Outlook: Tech didn’t see as much of a drop off in rushing as Bulldog fans expected, averaging 184 yards per game in 2009 to 172 yards in 2010. Creer will again be the key to the offense, but he won’t be alone. Creer and Holley caught a combined 36 balls out of the backfield, and Duplessis can catch, too. Tech ranked 29th in the country in sacks allowed, and that’s partly because the backs help out. While this group can do a little of everything, it’s all up to Creer staying healthy.
Unit Rating: 6

Receivers

Gone is Phillip Livas, who did a little of everything but only caught 22 passes. Three starters return with a JUCO transfer coming in to help the cause, so the potential is there for a far stronger season from the veteran targets.

Senior Taulib Ikharo came out of nowhere in 2010 and ended up leading the team with 50 grabs for 530 yards and four scores. The 5-11 185-pound veteran isn’t necessarily a No. 1 target, and he isn’t going to bust off too many big plays, but he’s steady and he’ll be the go to guy for the passing game. He’s a safe playmaker. He’ll start out at the Y.

5-11, 185-pound junior Richie Casey was second on the team with 42 catches for 432 yards and three touchdowns, and he’ll play on the inside H position. Casey, like Ikharo, had a strong effort in his first real chance at playing time, and now he needs to do even more to be a gamebreaker. Third-leading receiver Lyle Fitte caught 25 passes for 219 yards, but he only averaged 8.8 yards per catch and didn’t score. At 5-8 and 190 pounds he’s a small, quick player who can get open.

Andrew Guillot, a 5-10 180 pound former walk-on continues to be a steady performer in the offense. The sure handed junior caught 14 balls for 81 yards and a touchdown in 2010. Look for Gulliot to be even more of a factor in the offense this season. Extremely fast with next level wheels and athleticism, he was expected to be a big part of the offense as both a runner and receiver in 2009, but he suffered a knee injury and missed the entire season. Now that he’s more than a year removed from the problem, he should go full tilt.

Quinton Patton might be the best all-around receiver on the team, and he’s about to show why. The JUCO transfer drew praise from Sonny Dykes in spring football and quickly moved into a starting position, and now he’ll shine at the Z where the goal will be to get the ball in his hands on the move. At 6-1 and 195 pounds he has good size to go along with excellent deep speed. He’ll work in a rotation with D.J. St. Julien, a 6-0, 195-pound speedster averaged 26 yards per reception in high school and adds another deep threat in the attack.

Myles White, a former Michigan State wide receiver, is a key JUCO signing who’ll be thrown into the mix at the outside X right away. If he’s not the team’s fastest receiver, he’s a close second and he should be able to get deep on a regular basis. At 6-1 and 185 pounds he should be able to get deep on a regular basis. He’ll combine with Andrew Guillot, a 5-10, 180-pound speedster who caught 14 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown in a spot-starting role. The former walk-on will get his share of starts, but he’ll mostly be a part of a rotation.

Watch Out For …White. There’s plenty of speed and lots of athleticism in the receiving corps, but a regular deep threat needs to emerge. White is capable of being that guy by simply outrunning everyone on the field.
Strength: Returning production. Including RB Lennon Creer, the Bulldogs get their top five pass catchers from last year back. 142 of the team’s 260 catches came from the top four targets, and plenty of other promising receivers are back.
Weakness: Ahmad Paige and Tim Molton. Paige, a former Tennessee Vol, and Molton, a former LSU Tiger, were supposed to come back from injury and shine as key parts of the receiving corps, but they were kicked off the team. If they were 100%, they might have grown into top two targets on the team.
Outlook: The passing game might not quite blow up yet because the quarterback situation is still in flux; it’ll be up to the receivers to make it happen. There are plenty of prospects to get the job done, but losing Paige and Molton will hurt. Who will rise above the rest and can they stay healthy? Can White be a gamebreaker? There are plenty of decent options, but it would be nice if a few superstars could emerge. The production will be better than the talent.
Unit Rating: 6

Offensive Line

Junior Jordan Mills has seen some starting time in his first two seasons, and now the veteran will take over the right tackle job full-time. The 6-6, 325-pounder developed more of a mean streak over the offseason and went on a tear growing into a top blocker. Now he should be a big factor in the running game and should finally grow into the player he was expected to become as one of the team’s top recruits of 2009.

Massive JUCO transfer Oscar Johnson will get a long look at the right guard job, and he should be a blaster for the ground game. The 6-7, 350-pound massive blocker can blot out the sun, but he can’t move. He’ll battle with sophomore Vince Cano, who’s athletic for his 6-2, 305-pound size with a vertical jump of well over 30 inches. Versatile he could work at center if needed or at left guard. A rock of solid muscle, he’s as strong as anyone on the line.

Starting at center again is Stephen Warner, who started out his career at right guard and comes into the year as one of the top linemen on the team. The 6-0, 300-pound former walk on has all the tools to be an all conference performer in 2011. He’ll be backed up by 6-2, 305-pound sophomore Matthew Shepperd, who didn’t see the field in his first season but has decent size and has the potential to move to guard.

Junior Kevin Saia is a 6-2, 300-pound veteran who grabbed the left guard job and turned into a key player. Extremely strong, he’s built to power away for the running game, and he proved to be a regular in pass protection and worthy of being a player to work around for the next few years. Coach Dykes said during the spring that the Dutchtown native is one of the most underrated players on the team. Junior Jeremy Graffree was a JUCO All-American last year, and now he’ll be in the fight for time at left guard. At 6-4 and 325 pounds, and with the versatility to play either guard spot or either left tackle, he’ll be a vital backup.

Senior Kris Cavitt moved over from the defensive side early in his career and turned into a key starter at both tackle and guard. The 6-4, 310-pound veteran will be called on to solidify the young line in his final campaign, but he’ll have to battle with key JUCO transfer Larry Banks, a 6-4, 325-pound junior who got his chance in spring ball, and will be in the hunt for time all year long.

Watch Out For … Mills. The junior is ready to be a leader up front and is ready to become an all-star. He brought energy to every single practice this offseason, and Tech will need him along with Warner and Saia to anchor things up front.
Strength: Size. The JUCO transfers bring even more bulk to an already huge line. The entire two-deep averages well over 300 pounds across the board, and their size should help in both pass protection and when it comes time to run Lennon Creer up the middle of the defense.
Weakness: Quickness. Tech has solid athleticism in the middle with Warner and Saia, but it’ll be up to the big guys to move their feet if they want to keep their quarterback on his.
Outlook: The junior college guys were brought in for one reason: depth. If Johnson and Graffree can get into good shape by the time fall camp rolls around, they should be a big help for the Bulldogs up front. Last year the pass protection was tremendous allowing just 17 sacks, and while the line might not be quite as efficient and effective, it should be fine with a little bit of time.
Unit Rating: 6

- 2011 Louisiana Tech Preview | 2011 Louisiana Tech Offense
- 2011 Louisiana Tech Defense | 2011 Louisiana Tech Depth Chart