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2007 Louisiana Tech Preview - Offense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 16, 2007


Preview 2007 Louisiana Tech Bulldog Offense Preview

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

Preview 2007 - Offense

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

What you need to know:
It's not like the offense was awful last year, but it wasn't consistent and it didn't do enough to keep in all the shootouts created by its defense. Enough talent returns to look for more overall production, especially in the running game where Patrick Jackson should shine behind a big, veteran offensive line that can block, but can't pass protect. The quarterback situation will be worth watching with Zac Champion likely to get the job to start the season, but will be pushed by Michael Mosley and Ross Jenkins for time.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Zac Champion
190-364, 2,466 yds, 14 TD, 18 INT
Rushing: Patrick Jackson
170 carries, 854 yds, 7 TD
Receiving: Josh Wheeler
25 catches, 503 yds, 4 TD

Star of the offense: Junior RB Patrick Jackson
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior WR Josh Wheeler
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore QB Michael Mosley
Best pro prospect: Sophomore TE Dennis Morris
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Jackson, 2) Morris, 3) Wheeler
Strength of the offense: Running back, quarterback options
Weakness of the offense: Pass protection, experienced receiver

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter
:
Senior Zac Champion was a one-man gang at times throughout last season trying to keep up in shootouts created by the Bulldog defense. He doesn't have the best arm, but he's relatively mobile, can get hot at times, and has been around long enough to be a good leader. Now he has to cut down on his interceptions after throwing 18 last year to only 14 touchdown passes, and he has to be more consistent against the better teams.

Projected Top Reserves: It turned into a better battle than expected this spring. For now, the number two job belongs to sophomore Michael Mosley, who has great mobility, but he didn't show it off when he got his shot. He also struggled with his accuracy completing fewer than half his passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns with an interception. While he's not all that big at only 6-1 and 204 pounds, he's tough, has a little bit of experience, mostly in mop-up duty, and has a cannon for an arm.

The surprise was 6-3, 200-pound redshirt freshman Ross Jenkins, who had a strong spring and is generally acknowledged as the future of the program. He might be more ready than originally expected and could end up with the starting job if the offense struggles early on.

The fourth man in the mix will likely be junior Joe Danna, who's the biggest option at 6-5 and 228 pounds, but had major problems throughout this spring finishing with a 2-of-11 for 27-yard performance in in a key scrimmage.

Watch Out For ... Mosley and/or Jenkins to take over at times throughout the year. Champion is fine, but he's not going to be the quarterback who takes the program to another level. The coaching staff will end up looking to the future at some point.
Strength: Options. All of a sudden, the emergence of Mosley and Jenkins means Champion has to earn the starting job when it appeared to be all his going into spring ball.
Weakness: Consistency. Champion didn't have it last season, but it wasn't necessarily his fault considering all the problems the team had.
Outlook: Whoever can keep the chains moving, make the third down throws when needed, make the right decisions at the right times, and keep the mistakes to a minimum will get the job. Champion will get it to start the year, but don't be shocked if it's Jenkins, after Mosley comes in and struggles, who finishes it.
Rating: 5


Running Backs

Projected Starter
:
Junior Patrick Jackson will likely be the offense until the passing game finds its legs. The speedster isn't exactly a workhorse, but he was productive enough late in the year to finish with 854 yards and seven touchdowns averaging five yards per carry. A top recruit for the program a few years ago, he appears ready to blow up after a great spring. He has it all with quickness, occasional power, and great hands.

Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Daniel Porter came on in the middle of the year to finish second on the team with 464 yards and two touchdowns averaging 5.7 yards per carry. He was the main man against Utah State gaining 178 yards and a score, and he ran for 70 yards against North Texas, but he didn't do much else over the second half of the year. He's tremendously quick.

212-pound sophomore William Griffin brings more power to the mix and could be used as a fullback if needed. He was third on the team with 174 yards with a score against San Jose State.

189-pound redshirt freshman Myke Compton has some of the best wheels in the corps to go with tremendous strength. Now he has to put it all together and become a productive reserve, but he'll have to fight off freshman Phillip Livas, yet another smallish back with tremendous speed.

Watch Out For ... Jackson to be one of the WAC's best backs. He has 1,000-yard potential and the ability to carry the offense on his back.
Strength: Quickness. Jackson, Porter and Compton can all fly through the hole, and Livas is on the way to add even more speed.
Weakness: Consistent power. Griffin is the strongest, biggest back in the mix, and Jackson can provide some pop between the tackles, but this isn't exactly a backfield built on getting the hard yards.
Outlook: If the line is even remotely serviceable, which it wasn't last season, the backs will blow up. Jackson is the main man, but there are several decent reserves able to carry the load if needed. It won't be running back by committee, but it'll likely be a good mix of backups behind Jackson.
Rating: 6

Receivers

Projected Starters
:
The Bulldogs lost their top two receivers, but the emergence of sophomore Brian Jackson should ease the pain. At 6-3 and 207 pounds, he has the size to power past most defensive backs, and the speed to blow by the mediocre ones. After only catching three passes for 46 yards and a touchdown, he appears ready to break out.

While he's a potentially strong number two, 6-4, 203-pound Josh Wheeler is about to become the number one after catching 25 passes for 503 yards and four touchdowns averaging 20.3 yards per catch. While the junior never caught more than three passes in any game, he was consistent throughout. The former Louisiana state champion high jumper should pose a nightmare of a matchup problem now that he's the main man.

The third target in the mix will be junior Shane Womack, another big receiver who appears ready for a big season after catching just four passes for 27 yards in his first two years. Now that there's more room in the lineup, he'll be a key target seeing single coverage all season long.

At tight end, 6-3, 259-pound sophomore Dennis Morris will likely get the opening day start with good speed to go along with his size. He averaged 17.8 yards per catch with three touchdowns on just 16 grabs; he needs to get the ball in his hands far more often, and the coaching staff appears ready to do so. The former high school sprinter has the potential to be the team's most dangerous player.

Projected Top Reserves: Likely to see plenty of time in four-wide sets will be 6-1, 202-pound senior Roderick Handy, who caught three passes for 26 yards last season. While he won't stretch the field, he could be a key inside target.

Also in the hunt for time will be junior Earl Griffin, a special teamer who saw a few passes his way catching three for 41 yards. While he has a little bit of experience, if he's starting, there's a problem. 

Pushing Morris for time at tight end will be 6-3, 215-pound Anthony Harrison, who has the athleticism of a big wide receiver, but needs to be more consistent. The junior followed up a good first year with a clunker of a season catching one pass for 13 yards despite seeing time in ten games. He's not a big blocker, so if he's not catching passes, he's not helping.

Watch Out For ... the receiving corps to not be as bad as originally feared. Jackson, Wheeler and Womack all showed this spring that they can play and should form a nice nucleus.
Strength: Size. When the top targets are all over six feet tall and the top two go 6-3 (Jackson) and 6-4 (Wheeler), you're going to provide some matchup issues. They can all move, too.
Weakness: Proven number one target. Jackson and Wheeler appear ready for big seasons, but neither has been a main man yet. Can either one prove to handle the attention?
Outlook: The potential is there for this to be a strength if all the big question marks are answered. Can Morris live up to his measurables and be an NFL-caliber tight end? Is Wheeler really good enough to make everyone forget about Johnathan Holland and Eric Newman? Are there any reserves worthy of getting on the field? A rash of injuries to the starters would be devastating, but as long as everyone is healthy, there will be some home runs. Consistency will come next.
Rating: 5.5

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters
:
The strength of the line will be on the left side with senior Tyler Miller at tackle and junior David Accardo at guard. Accardo, a 6-5, 305-pound junior, started every game last season and was decent for the running game. He's not going to move too much, but he's strong. Miller has been a starter for almost every game over the last two years, and even got a few starts as a freshman. While he's not the best pass protector around, he's strong for the running game and at 6-7 and 305 pounds, is an intimidating presence.

Looking to replace Jacob Peeler at center will be sophomore Lon Roberts, who came through with a big spring. While he's not huge at 6-3 and 275 pounds, he's physical. He could play tackle if needed.

On the right side will be senior Ryan Considine at guard and junior Bill Jones at tackle. Considine is starting to emerge as the most dependable lineman with the versatility to play either guard or tackle. An average pass blocker, he fits in better at guard. The 6-6, 311-pound Jones got a little bit of work starting three games and playing in all 13, and while he has the frame that should be tough to get around, he lacks the quickness to do much against speed rushers.

Projected Top Reserves: 6-6, 310-pound sophomore Dwight Alexander hit the weights big-time over the off-season adding roughly 25 pounds to his frame. He saw a little bit of time in five games, but now he'll be a key player in the rotation behind Miller at left tackle.

286-pound sophomore Ben Harris saw a little bit of work as a redshirt freshman, and while he's a bit undersized, he'll work behind Accardo at left guard.

Watch Out For ... a big improvement up front. With good experience just about everywhere, and a few decent backups, the line should be far better for the running game.
Strength: Experience. The line was remained together for most of last season and now three starters return with Robert and Jones almost certain to be fine in the starting roles.
Weakness: Pass protection. The Bulldogs gave up 32 sacks last year, and could have just as many problems this season. The tackles are big and bruising, but they're not athletic.
Outlook: The line hasn't protected the passer over the last two seasons and needs to come up with a new wrinkle right away. It's a big group that should pound away for the running game at times, and it has to be consistent. It should be by midseason as long as there isn't a rash of injuries.
Rating: 5.5

 

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








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