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2007 Louisiana Tech Preview

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 16, 2007


Preview 2007 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Preview

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

Preview 2007

By Pete Fiutak

- 2007 Tech Offense Preview | 2007 Tech Defense Preview
-
2007 Tech Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Louisiana Tech Preview 

Louisiana Tech is a program in need of a new direction. Literally.

Geographically, it’s a Conference USA team playing in the WAC, and after years of decent success under Jack Bicknell III, including a league title, things finally went south with a disastrous 3-10 season, hurt mostly by the nation’s worst defense. A change needed to be made to get some fresh ideas and to get back in the WAC championship chase, and Derek Dooley, son of Georgia coaching legend Vince, will get his shot.

Head coach: Derek Dooley
1st year
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 22, Def. 25, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 14
Ten Best Tech Players
1. RB Patrick Jackson, Jr.
2. TE Dennis Morris, Soph.
3. LB Brannon Jackson, Sr.
4. LB Quin Harris, Jr.
5. FS Antonio Baker, Soph.
6. SS Mark Dillard, Sr.
7. DT D'Anthony Smith, Soph.
8. WR Josh Wheeler, Jr.
9. WR Brian Jackson, Soph.
10. OG Ryan Considine, Sr.

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 2-10

Sept. 1

Central Arkansas

Sept. 8

Hawaii

Sept. 15

at California

Sept. 29

at Fresno State

Oct. 6

at Ole Miss

Oct. 13

New Mexico State

Oct. 20

Boise State

Oct. 27

at Utah State

Nov. 3

at Idaho

Nov. 10

at LSU

Nov. 17

San Jose State

Dec. 1

Nevada

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 7-6

2006 Record:
3-10
Preview 2006 predicted wins

9/2 at Nebraska L 49-10
9/16 Nicholls State W 31-21
9/23 at Texas A&M L 45-14
9/30 at Clemson L 51-0
10/7 at Boise State L 55-14
10/14 Idaho L 24-14
10/21 Utah State W 48-35
10/28 at San Jose St L 44-10
11/4 at North Texas W 34-31
11/11 at Hawaii L 61-17
11/18 Nevada L 42-0
11/24 Fresno State L 34-27
12/2 at NMSU L 50-23

Expect a total change in overall philosophy on both sides of the ball after a total meltdown last year, especially on defense. Former Tulane offensive coordinator Frank Scelfo will get the offense throwing even more than last year when the Bulldogs finished third in the WAC in passing offense behind Hawaii and New Mexico State, while Tommy Spangler comes in to try to upgrade the woeful D. 

The new coaches and new ideas might be nice in theory, but they all have to be translated quickly to the players in place, and there’s not a whole bunch of time to do it. From the recruiting to the hiring of all the coaching spots to getting familiar with the talent, Dooley hasn’t been able to take a breath yet. Every practice, every film session and every moment with the team will be vital.

So there’s a rebuilding job to be done to get back to a bowl-caliber level, right? Maybe not.

The coaching staff went after JUCO players in the whirlwind of a recruiting season to be better right now. Just about every one of note returns (for good and bad) on the defensive front seven, and outside of the receiving corps, all the key players are back on offense, so if the newcomers can fill in the gaps and upgrade the talent level, and the defense can stop someone, there’s a chance for an immediate turnaround. 


What to watch for on offense: An attempt at balance, but more from the running game early on. Zac Champion is a veteran quarterback who could thrive under Scelfo if some receivers emerge over the course of the year, but the running game needs to shine early on with Patrick Jackson, Daniel Porter and William Griffin running behind a big, veteran line that should be better after struggling way too often last year.

What to watch for on defense: An actual play in the backfield. The Bulldogs were dead last in America in sacks (eight) and tackles for loss (43) leading to the nation’s least productive D that allowed a ridiculous 43.4 points per game against D-I teams while allowing 40 or more in eight games. Spangler will find ways to get the front seven into the backfield while hoping all the new JUCO defensive back prospects can play right away in the secondary.

The team will be far better if … The turnovers stop. Tech tied with Army for the most turnovers giving it away 37 times. The defense might turn out to be better (it can’t be any worse), but the offense can’t screw around and ruin drives by giving it away.

The Schedule: Tech always has to deal with being a road warrior, and this year’s no exception with two separate three-game road swings. The first is the more brutal of the two going to Cal, Fresno State and Ole Miss, while the second goes to Utah State and Idaho before the expected beatdown at LSU. On the plus side, WAC powers Hawaii, Boise State and San Jose State have to make the trip to Ruston.

Best Offensive Player: Junior RB Patrick Jackson. A top return man along with being the team’s best running back, Jackson has the potential to be a weapon if the offensive line improves. When right, he cranks out yards in bunches finishing up last season with 406 yards in the final four games.

Best Defensive Player: Junior LB Chris Harris. He went from a quality reserve to one of the team’s few productive defenders leading the way with 95 tackles and six tackles for loss from the strongside. He’s a smart, big hitter with the quickness to be decent in pass coverage. Considering the strides the defense has to make to be even average, he’ll have to be even better.

Key player to a successful season: Senior DE Chris Pugh. Tech finished dead last in America in sacks generating a mere eight. Pugh, a former JUCO transfer who was decent against the run, but at only 220 pounds, his job is to use his speed to be far more disruptive and come up with more than 3.5 sacks.

The season will be a success if ... Tech wins five games. It will take a serious upset or two to do it, but with all the returning experience, and the excitement with the new coaching staff, there’s reason to hope for a decent bounceback year with an eye on a big 2008.

Key game: Oct. 13 vs. New Mexico State. The high-powered Aggie offense ripped up the Bulldogs in a 50-23 win to close out last season. Considering a brutal four-game stretch before the game against NMSU, and Boise State to follow, the Bulldogs have to come up with a win or likely face a 1-6 start..

2006 Fun Stats: 
- Second half scoring: Opponents 260 – Louisiana Tech 108
- Sacks: Opponents 32 for 246 yards – Louisiana Tech 9 for 58 yards
- Fumbles: Opponents 28 (lost 19) – Louisiana Tech 27 (lost 18)

 

Related Stories
2007 Louisiana Tech Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 16, 2007
2007 Louisiana Tech Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 16, 2007
2007 Louisiana Tech Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 16, 2007








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