Louisiana Tech Preview 2006 Further Analysis
La Tech Bulldogs
Posted Aug 9, 2006

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Preview 2006 - Further Analysis

1st and Ten – Starting over? – Going into last season, the question of whether QB Matt Kubik was absolutely the perfect man for the starting QB job was still a concern for the Louisiana Tech coaching staff.  By season’s end, though, Kubik had answered that question emphatically with an effective season, including an excellent second half of the season.  Over the last six games of the year, Kubik threw for 11 touchdowns, while leading the Bulldogs to five wins out of the last six games, including a decisive victory over Fresno State in the Valley in his last game in the red and blue.  Each week, Kubik seemed to get better and better, which makes the ‘situation’ for this year’s QB that much more difficult.  Add in the fact that Kubik threw all of two interceptions over those last six games and there’s a tremendous amount of pressure on potential starters Zac Champion, Michael Mosley and Joe Danna to manage the game properly and effectively.  Kubik showed that whoever takes over the starting spot doesn’t have to be flashy and/or overly dominant, just wildly effective, stressing the effective part.  Champion is the only one of the three with any game experience and has been around the program for a number of years, but Mosley and Danna both offer up brilliant, but different skill sets.  Mosley can run and Danna can let it fly, but whether each one’s predominant singular trait helps put him ahead of Champion remains to be seen.  No matter who takes the job, the coaching staff will need to ‘massage’ the game for one of them, help them manage the game the same way they did with, and for, Kubik.  Their support and game planning paid off in a big way for Kubik and the 2005 offense and could do the same for (input name) and the 2006 offense.

2nd and Seven – B is for Brannon – But, B could also stand for big.  Guys who are 263 pounds don’t play middle linebacker any more, well, if they ever did in the first place.  But, Brannon Jackson does and is an absolute load in the middle of the Bulldog defense.  Plugging gaps and going B gap to B gap, Jackson is the type of linebacker who establishes a physical presence and might be the most important figure on the Bulldog defense this season.  He had 54 tackles last season, finishing third on the team in tackles behind departed linebackers Byron Santiago and Barry Robertson.  And, that is why he might be the most important figure for Tech – the Bulldog defense doesn’t return but one guy to the front seven – Jackson.  WAC offensive powers aren’t afraid to run the football right at the defense (Fresno State and Boise State come to mind), so to be in that company, Jackson must be a stud in the middle against those defenses and set a tone for the ‘newbies’ around him.

3rd and Three – “Hello, Newman” – Regardless of who takes over the starting QB spot, one of the first things on his mental checklist should be “establish synergy with Newman.”  No, not that Newman, Eric Newman.  While Johnathan Holland is one of the fastest WR in the conference (and anywhere for that matter) and has the potential to be the deep ball game breaker, it’s Eric Newman who became the number one threat for Kubik last season. In the final game against Fresno State, Newman only caught three passes, but two of them were for touchdowns.  Of the 30 that he caught on the season, 8 of them were for touchdowns.  The experience and production that Newman provides for the Tech QBs are valuable for their progress and invaluable for an offense that returns six other starters.

4th and One – Four out of five isn’t bad…well, maybe not in this case – If you’re on the 2006 Tech roster this season, you might as well get your frequent flyer mileage application into the airlines before the season starts.  There are challenging schedule openings and then there’s Tech’s.  Here’s what you get – at Nebraska, Nicholls State, at Texas A&M, at Clemson and at Boise State.  What, that’s like a million miles or so?  There’s an open week before the Nicholls State home game, but the four road games are bru-tal with a capital B.  The second half of the season is a bit more manageable, but the opening five weeks are the doings of Mr. Hyde.  They couldn’t get a bowl berth with 7 wins last season, and now being in a 13 game schedule, 8 wins may not be enough.  But, they start the year with those five games?  So, let’s be conservative and say they win the Nicholls State game and lose the other four, they’ve got to finish 7 and 1 to get to those eight wins, 8 and 0 to get to nine wins.  Now, schedules are made years in advance, but someone had to see the danger in this opening.  Someone?  Anyone?  Helloooo?

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