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2011 Louisiana Tech Preview
Louisiana Tech RB Lennon Creer
Louisiana Tech RB Lennon Creer
Posted Jul 28, 2011 2011 Preview - Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

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By Pete Fiutak

Head coach: Sonny Dykes
2n year
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 20, Def. 20, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 21
Ten Best Louisiana Tech Players
1. DE Matt Broha, Sr.
2. LB Adrien Cole, Sr.
3. LB Jay Dudley, Sr.
4. RB Lennon Creer, Sr.
5. S Chad Boyd, Jr.
6. WR Taulib Ikharo, Sr.
7. OG Kevin Saia, Jr.
8. WR Ahmad Paige, Sr.
9. C Stephen Warner, Jr.
10. PK Matt Nelson, Jr.
2011 Schedule

Sept. 4 Grambling
Sept. 11 at Texas A&M
Sept. 18 Navy
Sept. 25 Southern Miss
Oct. 2 at Hawaii
Oct. 9 Utah State
Oct. 16 Idaho
Oct. 26 at Boise St
Nov. 6 Fresno State
Nov. 13 at NMSU
Nov. 27 at San Jose St
Dec. 4 Nevada

Alright, so the Air Raid attack didn’t exactly take flight in its first season, but that doesn’t mean Sonny Dykes isn’t going to keep on trying.

With a head coach like Dykes, who knows a thing or two about getting the passing game going from his days at Texas Tech and Arizona, and an offensive coordinator in Tony Franklin who loves to bomb away, Louisiana Tech will eventually be very interesting, very dangerous, and very marketable.

It’s always been silly that the program has had to live in the world of the WAC and has had to make some of the biggest commutes of any team in America, but now the problem is that the league is about to stink. With all the top programs taking off for the Mountain West, Louisiana Tech is being lumped in next year with Idaho, San Jose State, and New Mexico State – and Texas State and UT San Antonio. A high octane offense and a ton of fun might be Tech’s ticket out.

The Bulldogs would be a perfect fit for Conference USA, and the Mountain West would be a huge upgrade, but for now, they’re going to try to be a WAC power even with some of the big boys still around. With a little bit of luck, some tweaking, and the right triggerman at quarterback, Tech could show the Mountain West what it’s missing.

The passing game couldn’t get going with four different quarterbacks seeing time and without any consistency in the receiving corps. The running game turned out to be a major factor and there was a bit more balance than originally expected, and while that’s usually a positive, the offense needed to bomb away more to keep up with a defense that finished 116th in the nation and suffered with the fourth-worst pass defense in America. Now the offense should be a bit more dangerous, even if it’s young, while the defense should be far better.

The linebacking corps could be among the best in the WAC with Adrien Cole and Jay Dudley two of the most active and disruptive defenders in the league. There will be some back–and-forth between a normal 3-4 and a 4-2-5 alignment, but either way there will be a spot for Matt Broha on one end. The tackles are young, but have good potential. The key will be the secondary that was so miserable last season, and with a good corner in Ryan Williams and tough safety in Chad Boyd, there’s no way the pass defense can be as poor again.

But it all comes down to the offense. Colby Cameron will get the first look to solidify the quarterback job, and most of the top receivers return, but there needs to be more explosion and more pop to finally make the passing game go. To help the cause is Lennon Creer, a big, tough back who carried the offense over the second half of last year and should help out the new quarterback going into this season. The line needs some work, but there’s good size and the pass protection should be excellent.

Can Dykes make the big jump in his second year and can Louisiana Tech look like a team that other conferences want to have? That’s for the future. For now, the Bulldogs should be as entertaining as any team in the league.

What to watch for on offense: The running backs. All the talk and all the excitement is about the passing game and how it might eventually explode and become special, but it’s the running game that’ll carry the mail for a while. Lennon Creer is a big, tough back who cranked out 1,181 yards and ten touchdowns, averaging 5.6 yards per carry, but he’s not alone. Ray Holley is a dangerous all-around playmaker with the potential to blow up both as a speed back and a receiver. Tyrone Duplessis is another speed back who can crank out big plays if he can get healthy.

What to watch for on defense: The improvement in the secondary. At least that’s the hope. The defensive backs got burned time and again against any team and every team that tried to throw, but now there are enough veterans and there’s enough depth to hope for enough of an improvement to make a difference. A second corner has to be found on the other side of Ryan Williams, but there are options. Chad Boyd is a good tackler for his size and he’ll be all over the field. Jamel Johnson is a big, strong defender who should be great against the run. All of the veterans have to be sharper when the ball is in the air.

The team will be far better if … the run defense is better. Strangely enough, Tech won two of the games – Idaho and San Jose State – when it got destroyed the worst through the air giving up 513 yards and five scores against the Vandals and 496 yards and five touchdowns against the Spartans. Also odd was how the Bulldogs went just 3-3 when allowing one touchdown or fewer with one of those wins coming against Grambling. The bigger problem, at times, was the run defense. Tech gave up 160 rushing yards or more six times, and lost all six games.

The schedule: There will be several chances for some wild shootouts. If the Air Raid offense is working at all, the opener at Southern Miss and the battle with Houston two weeks later will put up pinball-like numbers. Going to Mississippi State at the end of September might make for a rough first month, but all that really matters is being able to hit the ground running with Hawaii coming to Ruston in the WAC opener. And then things get ugly with five road games in the next six including a brutal start to November going to Fresno State, Ole Miss, and Nevada before closing out against New Mexico State.

Best offensive player: Senior RB Lennon Creer. The former Tennessee Volunteer was bottled up for the first half of the year, and then the coaching staff fed him the ball and it was Game On. Creer ran for 100 yards or more in five of the final seven games of the season and cranked out ten touchdown runs during the span. While he put up 149 yards and two scores against Boise State, he mostly lit up the weak and the sad highlighted by 252 yards and three scores against San Jose State. He’ll be counted on more than ever early on this year.

Best defensive player: Senior DE Matt Broha. There’s no complaint if you want to argue for linebackers Adrian Cole and/or Jay Dudley to be named the team’s defensive star or stars, but it’s Broha who makes the pass rush go with 14.5 career sacks and with nine coming last year. The former linebacker bulked up over the last few seasons and is now a true end at 6-4 and 255 pounds, and he gets off the ball in a hurry.

Key player to a successful season: Junior QB Colby Cameron. The last thing the coaching staff wants is to juggle quarterbacks throughout the season like it did last year, but that’ll only happen if Cameron becomes consistently dependable. No, he doesn’t have to become former Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell or Tech legend Tim Rattay right away, but he has to keep the passing game moving and he has to show why he was such a big-time recruit. He threw for almost 5,000 yards in his final two years in high school and he knows how to wing it around.

The season will be a success if … the Bulldogs go to a bowl game. On talent, Tech has the potential to be one of the three best teams in the WAC this year. The schedule will ruin any talent advantage with road games at Southern Miss, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss tough to deal with, along with the non-conference home date with Houston, while beating Nevada and Fresno State on the road won’t be easy. With just four home games before the season finale, getting to six wins will be hard.

Key game: Oct. 1 vs. Hawaii. If the Bulldogs can’t win what might be a wild shootout, the season is over. It’s the opening game of the WAC season, and while Idaho and Utah State aren’t world beaters, it’ll be asking a lot for Tech to win both road games against improved teams. They come right after the Hawaii game, and there’s still Fresno State and Nevada on the road to deal with in November.

2010 Fun Stats:
- Time of Possession: Opponents 33:11 – Louisiana Tech 26:49
- Punt Return Average: Louisiana Tech 13.6 – Opponents 5.7
- Third Quarter Scoring: Opponents 102 – Louisiana Tech 64

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