2007 Louisiana Tech Preview - Offense
Louisiana Tech Bulldog Offense Preview
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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.
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
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)
Strength of the offense: Running back, quarterback
Weakness of the offense: Pass protection, experienced
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.