2009 Louisiana Tech Preview - Offense
CollegeFootballNews.com 2009 Preview - Louisiana Tech Bulldog Offense
Preview 2009 -
2009 CFN Louisiana
Tech Preview |
2009 Louisiana Tech
2009 Louisiana Tech
2009 Louisiana Tech
2008 Tech Preview |
Tech Preview |
2006 Tech Preview
What you need to know: The offense was full of veterans last year and it
now returns with nine starters and plenty of talent. WR Phillip Livas is one of
the nation’s best all-around playmakers, Daniel Porter is a 1,000-yard back, and
the line returns all five starters. The quarterback situation is more settled
than it was last year, but Ross Jenkins needs to be more of a playmaker than
just a caretaker. The running game should still be strong with a slew of
ultra-quick backs, led by Porter, and with Livas getting some work, but the
passing game needs to do more. With all the experience needs to come more
production, a more efficient passing game, and more points against defenses with
Passing: Ross Jenkins
92-174, 1,155 yds, 7 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Daniel Porter
222 carries, 1,164 yds, 9 TD
Receiving: Phillip Livas
43 catches, 607 yds, 2 TD
Star of the
WR Phillip Livas
Player who has to step up and become a star: Junior QB Ross Jenkins
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OG Kris Cavitt
Best pro prospect: Senior TE Dennis Morris
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Livas, 2) RB Daniel Porter, 3) OT Rob
Strength of the offense: Offensive line, experience
Weakness of the offense: Consistent passing game, veteran reserves
Ross Jenkins didn’t have the starting job at the beginning of last year, but
he took it over midway through and ended up leading the Bulldogs on a nice run.
The 6-3, 212 pounder threw for 1,155 yards and seven touchdowns with just three
interceptions, with two coming in the win over Utah State, and he even showed a
little bit of mobility netting 56 yards with a score. More of a game-manager
than a bomber, it’s his job to not screw up, keep the chains moving, and not
lose the game.
Projected Top Reserves: Junior
Steven Ensminger started out his career at Auburn, sat out a year
after transferring, and spent last year on the scout team. At 6-2 and 231 pounds
he’s a strong, tough player with a live arm and a big-time high school résumé,
winning the 2005 Louisiana 5A state high school title. He has the talent and the
time in the program. Now he has to get on the field.
Also pushing for a job will be Randy
Hardin, a transfer from Southern Miss who sat out last season. While he’s
only 6-0 and 195 pounds, he’s a strong, ultra-accurate passer who threw for
7,463 yards and 76 touchdowns with only 18 interceptions at Rutherford High in
Jacksonville. While he’s not a runner, he can move.
Watch Out For ... the transfers. While it’s Ross Jenkins’ job,
Ensminger and Hardin are looking to push hard for the starting job. It’s not
like Jenkins will throw for 4,000 yards, so if there’s an opening, the transfers
could step in.
Strength: Veterans. Even though Ensminger and Hardin haven’t
played, they’ve been around the college world long enough to know what they’re
doing in practices and off the field; they’re not true freshmen. Jenkins should
be a steady leader throughout the season.
Weakness: Experience. Fine, so the backups are transfers and
aren’t totally green, but they haven’t seen real, live playing time. Jenkins has
only been the main man for half a season.
Outlook: It was supposed to be one of the WAC’s most interesting
quarterback battles last year, but it turned out to be Taylor Bennett and Ross
Jenkins. Bennett is gone meaning Jenkins will have to come up with the same
production he showed late last year. However, the overall accuracy in the
passing game has to be better. It was mostly Bennett’s fault, but the Bulldogs
completed just 46% of their passes. Steven Ensminger and Randy Hardin are good
prospects waiting in the wings if Jenkins stumbles.
With Patrick Jackson gone, it’ll be up to
senior Daniel Porter to carry the
bulk of the workload by himself. He was able to get the job done last year with
a team-leading 1,164 yards and nine touchdowns, scoring six times in the final
six games, and he was good for around a catch per game. He had a nice string of
five 100-yard games in six highlighted by a 189-yard, two-touchdown day in the
win over Fresno State. While he’s not all that big at 5-9 and 190 pounds, but
the All-WAC selection is tough, very fast, and is great at darting in and out of
Stepping in for Anthony Harrison at the U position, a hybrid of tight end and
fullback, will be 5-10, 235-pound junior
Tristan Broussard. A scout teamer the last two years, he’ll be used mostly
as a blocker while the tight ends will fill the receiver role.
Projected Top Reserves: Needing to take over the No. 2 job will be
Myke Compton, a tremendous special
teamer over the last two years who came up with 74 yards and a touchdown in a
limited role. The 5-8, 193-pound speedster is one of the team’s fastest players.
Also looking to become more of a factor in the running game is
Allen Gilbert, a 5-9, 195-pound
sophomore who got a little bit of work in the first two games of the year,
running for 17 yards, before getting knocked out for the season hurt. Extremely
fast, he’s a sprinter who has the potential to become a home run hitter.
Adding even more speed and quickness is true freshman
Tyrone Duplessis. Only 5-8 and 185 pounds, he’s not going to power
over anyone, but he’s a do-it-all type who could be used in a variety of ways as
a receiver, a kick returner, and a runner.
Watch Out For ... a battle for the No. 2 spot. Patrick Jackson was
a nice backup, and an occasional No. 1 option, Compton and Gilbert will have to
combine forces to get to the 653 yards Jackson cranked out last year.
Strength: Quickness. Everyone can move and everyone can flash out
of the backfield for five yards a crack. There’s no shortage of speed.
Weakness: Size of any sort and backup experience. There’s no one
of note over 195 pounds who can run with any semblance of power. Compton and
Gilbert don’t have enough appreciable experience to be counted on.
Outlook: The Bulldogs were able to finish second in the WAC with a
good offensive line, a great season from Daniel Porter, and a little help from
WR Phillip Livas. The key will be the production from Allen Gilbert and Myke
Compton to take over for Patrick Jackson, but the ground game will live and die
on the legs of Porter. The big question will be whether or not the group can
produce against a strong run defense. There aren’t many in the WAC.
While the receiving corps is hit hard by graduation, the
star of the show returns. Junior Phillip Livas was a star recruit for the
program and he didn't disappoint as a true freshman catching 28 passes for 504
yards and three touchdowns averaging 18 yards per grab. Last year he took things
to another level catching a team-leading 43 passes for 607 yards and two
touchdowns while finishing third on the team with 337 rushing yards and two
scores. He’s also an elite kick returner averaging 25.8 yards per kickoff and
15.3 yards, with two touchdowns, as a punt returner. While he’s not big at only
5-8 and 175 pounds, he’s one of the nation’s best all-around players.
Sophomore R.P. Stuart will be a big,
physical target to add to the mix. The 6-3, 205-pounder made seven catches for
58 yards and was used occasionally as a rusher finishing fourth on the team with
79 yards on nine carries. An extremely good athlete for his size, Stuart is
quick and can jump out of the stadium.
Senior tight end Dennis Morris has
NFL ability but isn’t close to being as productive as he should be. Part of the
reason has been the offense, part of the reason has been the lack of a
consistent passing game, and part of the reason has been because Morris hasn’t
done enough with just seven catches for 156 yards and a touchdown last season. A
good blocker with excellent 6-2, 266-pound size, the former high school sprinter
can also move. He has home run hitting ability, but now he has to be more
involved in the attack.
Projected Top Reserves: Morris is the team’s most talented tight
end, but it’s 6-4, 252-pound senior
Dustin Mitchell who has spent the most time as the starter. He got the call
over the first half of last year, and finished with seven starts, making seven
catches for 112 yards with a touchdown. While he’s hardly a field-stretcher,
he’s a good receiver who can do more for the offense and be used as a fullback
from time to time.
6-4, 205-pound sophomore
Cruz Williams will combine with R.P.
Stuart for one of the open spots. He’s a big, tough, physical blocker and a good
all-around prospect. A great recruit for the program a few years ago, he saw a
little time last year before getting hurt and knocked out for the year. When
he’s healthy, he has the athleticism and the size to potentially be a No. 1
Houston Tuminello turned into a nice backup in his true freshman season
making 12 catches for 117 yards. While his two catches for 30 yards in the
Independence Bowl win over Northern Illinois might not have seemed like much, he
led the team. At 6-1 and 180 pounds, he has decent size and should be a good
contributor over the next three years on the inside.
There will be a spot somewhere for Richie
Casey, a 6-0, 180-pound redshirt freshman who spent last year on the scout
team. Extremely fast and very athletic, he’s the type of target who can take a
short pass the distance from anywhere on the field. He’ll also be used as a
runner as well as a receiver.
Watch Out For ... the tight ends to be used far more. One of the
biggest flaws in the offense over the last few years has been an inability to
utilize Morris and Mitchell more in all phases. Each will see time as a blocker
and each should get more involved in the passing game.
Strength: Tight ends and Livas. Morris and Mitchell could end up
making NFL teams next year. Livas isn’t all that big and looks like he could
snap in two at any time, but he’s one of the best all-around weapons in the WAC.
Weakness: A proven No. 2 receiver. Losing Philip Beck, who
finished second on the team with 25 catches, will be a problem, while losing the
blocking of Shane Womack will also hurt. There’s good speed and excellent
potential ready to come through, but there’s no real experience to rely on
Outlook: Blame the ineffective quarterback play, and the emergence
of a strong running game, for why the receivers weren’t all that great last
year. Even so, Phillip Livas showed just how good he could be with the ball in
his hands as both a runner and a receiver, while the tight ends, Dennis Morris
and Dustin Mitchell, have the potential to be special. Now the key will be the
emergence of a second wide receiver. Sophomores Cruz Williams and R.P. Stuart
will be counted on right away.
All five starters return to the O line led by
Rob McGill, a 6-7, 305-pound
second-team All-WAC performer at left tackle. Able to play inside or out, he
stepped up into the role at tackle starting every game and turning into a steady
pass protector and a strong run blocker. He’s the star the rest of the line will
Next to McGill will be Ben Harris,
the only senior up front. At 6-4 and 282 pounds, he’s an agile run blocker who’s
good on his feet. While he looks a bit more like a pumped up tight end than a
bruising guard, he’s been physical.
Starting in the middle will once again be 6-3, 280-pound
Lon Roberts, a junior who started every game and has been the
quarterback up front for the last 25 games. While he hasn’t earned all-star
honors, he’s been an excellent all-around blocker who should get more attention
after two excellent years.
6-8, 335-pound junior Cudahy Harmon
started 11 games bringing the beef at right tackle. Surprisingly athletic for
his size, he hasn’t been all that bad against speed rushers with his biggest
strength his ability to pound away when he gets to use his long arms to push
defenders away. The big key will be his size; he has to get to around 320 to be
at his most effective.
Kris Cavitt stepped in at right guard
as a redshirt freshman starting over the final six games of the year. While he’s
not a big bruiser at 6-3 and 288 pounds, he’s a good blocker who’s only going to
get better. He didn’t play long in high school, getting on the football field
for just one season after spending most of his athletic life playing basketball.
He’s just scratching the surface.
Projected Top Reserves: Able to step in and start at either guard
spot is Jared Miles, a good backup
who started the first seven games at right guard. At 6-3 and 333 pounds, he’s a
massive blocker, too massive at times, who’s great for the ground game but is
limited in pass protection. He stepped aside with the emergence of the more
athletic Kris Cavitt, but he’s a reliable junior who’ll start again soon.
Jacob Miller is a 6-3, 285-pound center who can play just about anywhere on
the line. He started in the middle for Hutchinson CC in Kansas and is expected
to show up and be a major factor in the rotation from day one. He’s a good,
ready-made blocker who can run and pass block equally well.
One of the team’s best recruits this year was
Jordan Mills, a massive, athletic 6-6, 325-pound tackle who got some
long looks from some bigger schools. While he could end up on the defensive line
if needed, he’s a star recruit for the O line where he’ll be given a hard look
for one of the backup tackle spots.
Watch Out For ... 2010. This was one of the WAC’s better lines
last year, returns intact, and gets back four starters next season. If Louisiana
Tech is truly going to emerge as a WAC superpower over the next two seasons
it’ll be because the front five has grown into something special.
Strength: Experience. This was a veteran line going into last year
and then it stayed together most of the season. And now everyone is back. This
was a great line for the ground game and it wasn’t
too bad in pass protection. However …
Weakness: Pass protection. The line was better, but it still
wasn’t great. After giving up 63 sacks in two seasons, the Bulldogs allowed 25
sacks on only 343 pass attempts. The protection should be better, but it’s still
not likely to be a rock.
Outlook: This is a good-sized, veteran group that should be among
the best in the WAC with the potential to only get better. There isn’t enough
developed depth and there are some concerns with the pass protection, but
overall this should be a good front five led by Rob McGill at left tackle. As
good as it’ll be this season, it’ll be better next year.