Louisiana Tech Preview 2006 - Offense
La Tech Bulldogs
Posted Aug 9, 2006

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Preview 2006 - Bulldog Offense

What you need to know ... The Bulldogs aren't going to put up a ton of points and aren't equipped to get into shootouts, but there's the potential to be very solid with a good backfield punch of Freddie Franklin and Patrick Jackson and a receiving corps that's deep and talented. The line doesn't have any depth and has to replace its top two players, G Aaron Lips and C Marcus Stewart, but the starting five should turn out to be fine. And then there's the quarterback situation. Matt Kubik is gone making it an open competition between Zac Champion, Michael Mosley and Joe Danna.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Zac Champion
2-2, 16 yds
Rushing: Mark Dillard (now a DB)
155 carries, 672 yds, 8 TD
Receiving: Eric Newman
30 catches, 566 yds, 8 TD

Star of the offense: Senior WR Eric Newman
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior QB Zac Champion, redshirt freshman QB Michael Mosley, or junior QB Joe Danna
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR Josh Wheeler
Best pro prospect: Senior TE Anthony James
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Newman, 2) James, 3) RB Freddie Franklin
Strength of the offense: Receiving corps, running backs
Weakness of the offense:
Quarterback experience

Gone is the Matt Kubik, who was effective if unspectacular as a solid senior leader last season. There might be only eight passes of D-I experience returning, all by Zac Champion, but the situation isn't all that bad with three good options. Champion can do a little of everything well, redshirt freshman Michael Mosley is a dangerous runner, and Joe Danna is a big passer with JUCO experience. The race will be wide open all off-season with Champion the odds on favorite for the job.
The key to the unit: Efficiency. The Tech quarterback doesn't have to throw for 3,000 yards, but he does have to keep the chains moving and can't make mistakes.
Quarterback Rating: 5

Projected Starter
- Zac Champion, Jr. - 2-2, 16 yds
Champion is the only quarterback on the roster with any experience, but that doesn't mean he's a lock for the starting job by a long shot. He's a good-sized passer with a good arm and great rushing skills. He knows the offense and is the main man to beat in the race as long as he can be consistent.

Top Backups
- Michael Mosley, RFr.
The speedy Mosley is an interesting option after coming over from the JUCO ranks last year. He has to prove he can be a reliable, accurate passer to go along with all of his athleticism.
- Joe Danna, Jr.
Danna is a 6-5, 224-pound JUCO transfer has the tools, and now he has to get the offense down and be comfortable under center. He threw for 1,292 yards and ten touchdowns for Blinn Junior College last year.

Running Backs
It's a very good situation and will be the focal point for the offense until the quarterback situation is settled. Freddie Franklin and Patrick Jackson are talented quick backs who'll each average close to five yards per carry. The situation is so good that Mark Dillard, last year's leading rusher, is being moved to defensive back. There's a slew of strong freshmen coming in to provide quality depth.
The key to the unit: Get Patrick Jackson even more involved this year and keep Freddie Franklin healthy enough to be a 20-carry back.
Running Back Rating: 6.5

Projected Starters
- Freddie Franklin, Jr. - 91 carries, 448 yds, 4.9 ypc, 4 TD, 17 catches, 154 yds
Franklin is a tall back with tremendous quickness who'll take back the starting job after getting the call twice. He finished second on the team in rushing despite missing three games, and he adds good hands as a receiver. He finished up the season with a tremendous 120-yard game against Fresno State showing off the special skills that should make him a threat to 1,000 yards this season.

Top Backups
- Patrick Jackson, Soph. - 88 carries, 367 yds, 4.2 ypc, 6 TD, 9 catches, 55 yds
Jackson was one of last year's top recruits and turned into a solid reserve finishing third on the team in rushing getting double-digit carries in five games. He adds more size and a little more power than Freddie Franklin at 192 pounds, but he has to come back healthy after suffering a not-that-serious knee injury this spring.
- William Griffin, Fr. 
The 200-pound true freshman will join Myke Compton and Daniel Porter as possible top reserves in the rushing mix. They'll all get time to work right away with Griffin the most likely to get a shot right away.
- Mark Dillard, Jr. - 155 carries, 672 yds, 4.2 ypc, 8 TD, 13 catches, 157 yds
The power running junior was the team's leading rusher last season highlighted by a 155-yard day against Hawaii and a 138-yard game against Idaho. He's past his off-the-field legal issues and could still see time in the backfield, but he'll most likely push for time at strong safety.

This should be one of the team's strengths and could be among the WAC's best corps if lightning fast Johnathan Holland finally breaks out and plays up to his potential. Eric Newman is a rock-solid number one target, and 6-4 Josh Wheeler is an exciting sophomore who'll only get better. The depth is a little concerning needing Shane Womack to grow into a top reserve and hoping for several walk-ons to play a big role. The tight end situation is fantastic with big Anthony James and next-level talent and Anthony Harrison a good-looking young receiver. 
The key to the unit: Hoping for Johnathan Holland to make more deep plays, Eric Newman to be as good as last year and hope for several reserves to grow into producers.
Receiver Rating: 7

Projected Starters
- Johnathan Holland, Sr. - 29 catches, 421 yds, 14.5 ypc, 2 TD
Holland combines good size with some of the best speed in the WAC. He's a star sprinter for the track team and has been a solid receiver, but he hasn't quite been the explosive playmaker he should be considering all of his skills. He'll get every chance to be used more as a deep threat.

- Eric Newman, Sr. - 30 catches, 566 yds, 18.9 ypc, 8 TD
Newman was shut out in the season opener against Florida and then turned into a rock-solid number one target catching a touchdown pass in each of the final five games. He's not nearly the speedster Johnathan Holland is and he isn't necessarily used as a deep threat, but he finished with  a whopping 18.9 yards per catch showing how good he can be when he gets the ball in his hands.

- Josh Wheeler, Soph. - 7 catches, 163. yds, 23.3 ypc, 1 TD
The 6-4, 200-pound sophomore showed nice promise with a 72-yard touchdown catch against Idaho and should quickly be a top target. He was a Louisiana state champion high jumper and should pose a nightmare of a matchup problem once he gets more involved in the offense.

- Tight end Anthony James, Sr. - 15 catches, 201 yds, 13.4 ypc, 2 TD
A dangerous 6-6, 265-pound target, he's a great blocker as well as a good receiver finishing fourth on the team. He came on over the second half of last year to be a reliable part of the offense, but his real worth is as a crushing blocker.

Top Backups
- Shane Womack, Soph. - 1 catch, 7 yards
A tremendous athlete, Womack has all the tools to be a tremendous producer once the light goes on. He's a strong 206 pounds and can fly playing behind Josh Wheeler.
- Earl Griffin, Jr. - 2 catches, 15 yards
Mostly a special teamer so far, Griffin is a limited receiver who caught two passes against North Texas. He needs to be more of a factor as a bigger option then number one target Eric Newman.
- Tight end Anthony Harrison, Soph. - 11 catches, 98 yds, 8.9 ypc, 3 TD
While not nearly the blocker Anthony James is, the 225-pound sophomore is a decent receiver who looked good early in his true freshman season. He's a tough player who'll be used even more this season.

Offensive Linemen
The line might lose long-time starting center Marcus Stewart and all-star, 47-game starter Aaron Lips at guard, but it should be a good group if the starters stay healthy. Massive Marcus Lindsey and Ryan Considine form a good tandem on the right side, while Tyler Miller is a good left tackle. David Accardo has to replace Lips, who played banged up all of last year, while undersized Jacob Peeler should be a decent replacement in the middle. The problem: depth. There isn't any.
The key to the unit: Get better pass protection and quickly find some quality reserves to help fill in the gaps.
Offensive Line Rating: 5.5

Projected Starters
- OT Tyler Miler, Jr.
The 6-7, 309-pound junior is a strong run blocker who'll get the starting job again at left tackle. He's an experienced blocker who's decent in pass protection and still growing into his potential.
- OG David Accardo, Soph.
Accardo has a nasty task of trying to replace all-star Aaron Lips at left guard. He's a big 316 pounds who saw time as a reserve last year and should be a rock for the running game..
- C Jacob Peeler, Sr.
The former JUCO transfer saw a little bit of time in three games and now has to take over for the three-year mainstay Marcus Stewart in the middle. While Peeler appears to be a potentially solid blocker, he's a bit small at only 261 pounds. 
- OG Marcus Lindsey, Sr.
BIG. Lindsey is back for another year at right guard using his too-big 6-7, 386-pound body as a crushing run blocker. He originally started out his career at tackle, but he got too big and doesn't have the feet to be a consistent pass protector.
- OT Ryan Considine, Jr.
A solid right tackle all of last season, the 297-pound junior moved after originally being projected as a guard. He still needs work as a pass blocker, but he's a great run blocker and should be better now that he's experienced.

Top Backups
- OT Ryan Snell, Soph.
After seeing a little bit of action as a freshman, the 282-pound tackle has good athleticism and potential at left tackle behind Tyler Miller.
- C Jason Lewis, Soph.
A scout teamer so far, the 6-4, 309-pound sophomore is a far, far bigger option than the 261-pound Jacob Peeler at center. He could be moved to guard if needed.

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