2008 Louisiana Tech Preview - Offense
Louisiana Tech WR Phillip Livas
CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - Louisiana Tech Bulldog Offense
Preview 2008 -
2008 CFN Louisiana
Tech Preview |
2008 Louisiana Tech
2008 Louisiana Tech
2008 Louisiana Tech
Tech Preview |
2006 CFN Louisiana
What you need to know: The veteran offense with eight
returning starters will all come down to the hopeful improved
play from the line and the stating quarterback. While four
sophomores will likely start up front, this is a veteran group
that got its feet wet throughout last year and should be strong
for the running game. The running back combination of Patrick
Jackson and Daniel Porter are excellent, and the receivers, are
fine, but could be great if Phillip Livas comes through with a
great year. The tight ends, overall, should be the best in the
WAC. The focus is all on the quarterback situation with Georgia
Tech transfer Taylor Bennett, Auburn transfer Steven Ensminger,
and the starter going into fall camp, Ross Jenkins, all about to
wage an all-out battle royale for the starting gig. There isn't
a bad answer among the three.
Passing: Michael Mosley (now a WR)
9-20, 101 yds
Rushing: Patrick Jackson
202 carries, 950 yds, 8 TD
Receiving: Anthony Harrison
33 catches, 293 yds, 0 TD
Star of the offense: Senior RB Patrick Jackson
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior QB
Taylor Bennett or sophomore QBs Ross Jenkins or Steven Ensminger
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OT Cudahy Harmon
Best pro prospect: Senior WR Philip Beck (as a punt
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Jackson, 2) WR Phillip
Livas, 3) TE Dennis Morris
Strength of the offense: Running back, tight ends
Weakness of the offense: Wide receivers, quarterback
Projected Starter: The starting quarterback job will be up for
grabs going into the fall, but coming out of spring ball, 6-2,
203-pound sophomore Ross Jenkins has the edge. He saw a
little bit of mop-up time last year completing just two of five
passes for 26 yards against Nevada, and while he'll have some
tough competition to deal with, he has the talent to make the
offense his for the next three years. Consistency will be his
key. He has the accuracy, but now he has to be effective on a
Projected Top Reserves: The win-now option will be
Georgia Tech transfer Taylor Bennett, who will enroll in
graduate school and not have to sit out a year to transfer. The
6-3, 215-pound senior was the starter for the Yellow Jackets
last season and completed 162 of 327 passes for 2,136 yards, but
he only threw seven touchdown passes, with five coming in the
final four games, with nine interceptions. He has the most
experience, but his only really strong outing at Tech was
against West Virginia in the 2007 Gator Bowl when he threw for
326 yards and three touchdowns. He also had Calvin Johnson
helping him out.
Sophomore Steven Ensminger started out his career at
Auburn, sat out last season after transferring, and now is
pushing hard for the starting job. The No. 2 man coming out of
spring ball, the 6-2, 230-pounder has a live arm, a big-time
high school résumé, winning the 2005 Louisiana 5A state high
school title, and the talent to be the star of the show if he
can show a bit more spark for the passing game.
The most interesting option of the lot is senior Al Jackson,
a 6-2, 229-pound transfer from Grambling State who has the most
athleticism of the quarterbacks by far. A high school sprinter
and a talented passer who threw for 110 touchdowns with 15
interceptions in high school, he went to Mississippi Gulf Coast
CC for two years and is now trying to get into the Bulldog mix.
Watch Out For ... Bennett. The writing was on the
wall when Paul Johnson brought his spread option attack to
Georgia Tech. Bennett was going to be out of a job, and he was
able to find a home in Ruston. The job won' t just be handed to
him, but he could be the favorite when he gets off the bus.
Strength: Options. The coaching staff can't really
go wrong. Bennett, Ensminger and Jenkins represent the most
quarterback talent the program has had since Luke McCown and Tim
Rattay. The starter will have earned it.
Weakness: A controversy? With so many good
options, it'll be tempting to yank the starter if there are any
rough patches. The starter won't ever really be comfortable.
Outlook: It'll be one of the WAC's most
interesting position battles. Will the job go to Bennett as the
coaching staff hopes to get one good year before making a
decision on Jenkins or Ensminger, or will there be a nod to the
future with one of the sophomores? Considering Tech had the
101st most efficient passing game in the country last season,
there should be an upgrade no matter who's under center.
Projected Starter: Senior Patrick Jackson has been the
star of the offense at times over the last few seasons and
earned second-team All-WAC honors last year after rushing for
950 yards and eight touchdowns averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
Able to be a workhorse for a limited amount of time, he ran for
26 carries for 155 yards and a score against Idaho, but for the
most part he ran about 14-18 times a game as he fought through
injuries. Also a strong receiver, he was second on the team with
31 catches for 227 yards and a score. A top recruit for the
program a few years ago, he has decent 5-10, 193-pound size and
Projected Top Reserves: Junior Daniel Porter
has shown flashes of brilliant running for 260 yards and
three touchdowns over a two-game mid-season span last year on
the way to a 592-yard, six touchdown season. Averaging six yards
per carry, the 5-9, 189-pound speed back can start and stop on a
dime. Now he needs to be used more for the passing game after
catching just 11 passes for 58 yards. He'll see some time at the
U position to get in the backfield at the same time as Jackson.
5-10, 203-pound junior William Griffin brings a bit more
power to the mix. He wasn't used all that often, but he was able
to bang out 190 yards while catching five passes for 22 yards.
He has a little bit of history as the main man rushing for 174
yards and a score against San Jose State two years ago.
5-8, 190-pound sophomore Myke Compton is a scatback who
needs to find a role. One of the team's fastest backs, and with
good strength, he's due to become a factor.
Watch Out For ... more from the reserves. Jackson has
1,000-yard potential, but he isn't big enough to be a
25-carry-a-game runner. The other options are good enough to
carry the ground game at times.
Strength: Quickness. Jackson, Porter and Compton
can all fly through the hole, and Griffin isn't slow for his
Weakness: A consistent banger. Griffin could be a
wear-them-down type of runner with some more work, but he won't
get much of an opportunity outside of a few carries here and
there. It would be nice if he was a closer late when defenses
Outlook: The line didn't provide a whole bunch of
help, but the ground game was still decent. Now with the
combination of Jackson, Porter and Griffin, the Bulldogs have
one of the league's better backfields. They're not going to make
a whole bunch happen on their own, but they'll combine for close
to 2,000 yards.
Projected Starters: Sophomore Phillip Livas was a star
recruit for the program last year and he didn't disappoint as a
true freshman. Used as both a receiver and a runner, he caught
28 passes for 504 yards and three touchdowns averaging 18 yards
per grab, and he ran for 72 yards on ten carries. He's only 5-8
and 170 pounds, but he's lightning quick and is a star kick
returner as well as a home run hitter for the offense.
There will be a combination of players for the other starting
spot with 5-10, 177-pound senior Philip Beck getting the
first look after finishing third on the team with 30 catches for
359 yards and a score. While he's a decent receiver, he's an
elite punt returner averaging 17.4 yard per try. The former JUCO
all-star has the talent to do more for the offense, but he
hasn't shown it yet.
Junior tight end Dennis Morris has NFL measurables, but
he hasn't put it all together yet on the field. At 6-2 and 264
pounds, he's a big blocker, and a former high school sprinter,
he has excellent speed. He averaged 17.8 yards per catch as a
freshman, but he only caught nine passes for 79 yards last year
as he was barely a part of the passing game.
Working as both a tight end and fullback at the U position is
6-3, 242-pound senior Anthony Harrison, the team's
leading receiver with 33 catches for 293 yards. With the
athleticism of a big wide receiver, he has no problems getting
open, but he's not a gamebreaker averaging just 8.9 yards per
catch. Even so, he was far more consistent after a down 2006.
Projected Top Reserves: While Morris may have the
skills to be an excellent tight end, 6-4, 245-pound junior
Dustin Mitchell has actually produced finishing fourth on
the team with 29 catches for 198 yards and two touchdowns.
Hardly a field stretcher, he's not going to make too many, if
any, big plays, but he's a reliable short-range target.
Pushing hard for one of the
receiver jobs is junior Michael Mosley, a 6-2, 206-pound
former quarterback who's actually the team's leading returning
passer after completing nine of 20 passes for 101 yards. He got
a start at receiver last year and caught a pass for five yards.
He has excellent speed and the ability to be used in a variety
Also fighting for a job is 6-2, 208-pound senior Shane Womack,
an afterthought in the passing game last year catching just 19
passes for 246 yards and a touchdown. He has good size and he's
been around long enough to be a key third receiver in certain
formations if he doesn't beat out Mosley and Beck for the
Back and ready to be a factor is 6-4, 204-pound senior Josh
Wheeler who returns after missing most of last year hurt. He
caught two passes for 21 yards and a touchdown. He showed he was
back to form this spring making four catches for 64 yards in the
spring game, and now he'll be in the rotation behind Wheeler.
Watch Out For ... Livas. Overall, this is an
underwhelming group that isn't going to throw too many scares
into opposing defenses, but Livas is the one who could change
all of that. He has the star skills to be the type of dangerous
playmaker who changes games all by himself.
Strength: Tight end. There's an abundance of very
big, very athletic tight ends. Morris, Mitchell and Harris could
start for almost anyone in the WAC, and they'll be used in
several ways in various two tight end sets.
Weakness: Drops. This was a big, big problem at
times throughout the year and it killed the consistency of the
passing game. With so many veterans returning, the mistakes have
to slow down.
Outlook: There's a ton of experience, plenty of
upside, and lots of players who look the part, but more
production has to come. The passing game averaged a paltry 9.9
yards per catch with just 13 touchdowns. Livas will be the No. 1
target, but he needs other wide receivers to step up and be
consistent to open up the air show. The tight ends are great and
will be featured throughout the year.
Projected Starters: The line gets a big boost with the return of
David Accardo, the 6-4, 318-pound left guard who was
growing into a strong force for the running game after a decent
2006, but he got hurt early last year and missed most of the
year. He's not going to move too much, but he's a mauler for the
Replacing Ryan Considine at right tackle will be sophomore
Cudahy Harmon, a 6-8, 320-pound house who saw a little bit
of time as a true freshman and even started against California.
He has to prove he can handle the speed rushers on a consistent
basis, but he should be good when he's able to use his long arms
to keep defenders at bay.
Back in the middle is sophomore Lon Roberts, one of the
rocks of the line starting every game last year. The 6-3,
272-pounder was one of the stars of 2007 spring ball and came
through big in the middle as a physical blocker with the
athleticism to play tackle if needed.
Also returning is 6-7, 292-pound sophomore Rob McGill
at left tackle. Able to play guard or tackle, he started the
last six games of the year at left guard, but no he'll move to
the outside where he'll have to show consistency as a pass
blocker in place of Tyler Miller.
6-3, 320-pound sophomore Jared Miles was a decent backup
and eventually took over the starting right guard job starting
the final six games of last year. A massive blocker who's great
for the ground game, he held his own as a true freshman. As he
grows into the job he should become one of the team's most
reliable all-around blockers.
Projected Top Reserves: While Harmon has the
potential to grow into a start at tackle, 6-6, 325-pound veteran
Bill Jones could end up stepping in and starting if
needed. He'll start out working behind McGill on the left side,
and as one of the line's most versatile blockers, he could step
in at guard if needed after starting five times on the right
side early last year.
One of the team's rising stars after a great spring is redshirt
freshman Kris Cavitt, a 6-3, 285-pound future starter at
guard. A great athlete for a guard, he's still learning the ins
and outs of the position after only playing football for one
year in high school, and even then he was best on the defensive
side. He'll play behind Accardo at left guard.
6-4, 280-pound junior Ben Harris started the first three
games of last year before giving way to Accardo. A serviceable
veteran, he's able to step in at either guard spot, will start
out behind Miles on the right side.
Watch Out For ... a bit better pass protection. There
should be decent mobility at quarterback meaning there should be
a few sacks avoided, but the line will be better with more
experience and several starters back.
Strength: Experience. Technically, three starters
are returning, but Accardo and Harris have each started enough
be considered crusty veterans. Even though this is still a young
group overall, things should jell in a hurry.
Weakness: Pass protection. This has been a problem
over the last few seasons allowing 32 sacks in 2006 and 31 last
year. Yes, the pass protection will be better because of the
experience, but the tackles aren't exactly equipped to stop
every speed rusher.
Outlook: This is a big, experienced group that
should do a decent job for the running game. It paved the way
for a solid 155 yards per game last year, and it should do far
more. There's decent talent and lots of upside with four
sophomores starting. This group should only grow and get better
over the next few seasons.