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2010 Louisiana Tech Preview - Offense
Louisiana Tech QB Ross Jenkins
Louisiana Tech QB Ross Jenkins
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 8, 2010


CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - Louisiana Tech Bulldog Offense



Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

Preview 2010 - Offense

- 2010 Louisiana Tech Preview | 2010 Louisiana Tech Offense
- 2010 Louisiana Tech Defense | 2010 Louisiana Tech Depth Chart
- Louisiana Tech Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

What You Need To Know: Louisiana Tech finished 91st in the nation in passing averaging 188 yards per game last year. If all goes according to plan, the Bulldog air attack will occasionally get 188 yards in a quarter. Sonny Dykes and offensive coordinator Tony Franklin are going to bring the Air Raid attack to Ruston with the idea to crank up the passing game into a Texas Tech-like frenzy. But are the pieces in place to do it? The line will be strong in time, even though it’s been built to beat people up, and the unproven receivers have a world of athleticism and quickness, but the quarterback situation is a different story. Ross Jenkins is a solid veteran, but he’s a game manager while Steven Ensminger, the better fit of the two top options, doesn’t have any experience. The offense will be clunky at times and inconsistent throughout the year, but it’s going to be a fun ride.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Ross Jenkins
163-278, 1,930 yds, 16 TD, 5 INT
Rushing: Phillip Livas
23 catches, 226 yds
Receiving: Phillip Livas
20 catches, 205 yds

Star of the offense: Senior OT Rob McGill
Player who has to step up and be a star: Senior QB Ross Jenkins and/or Steven Ensminger
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR Ahmad Paige
Best pro prospect: McGill
Top three all-star candidates: 1) McGill, 2) WR/KR Phillip Livas, 3) C Lon Roberts
Strength of the offense: Line, Receiver Quickness
Weakness of the offense: Running Back, The Right Fit At Quarterback

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter: Senior Ross Jenkins hasn’t set the world on fire throwing for 2,428 yards and 25 touchdown passes with eight interceptions over the last two seasons. The 6-3, 212-pounder took over the starting job midway through the 2008 season and became a game manager. Can he be a bomber? Can he be the type of gunslinger who puts the ball over the field? That remains to be seen. So far he has been solid at not screwing up and keeping the chains moving.

Projected Top Reserves: While his Louisiana Tech career hasn’t quite started out as planned after transferring from Auburn, senior Steve Ensminger should be a great fit for the new attack. The 6-2, 225-pounder is a pure passer with a live arm and a big-time high school résumé (with a 2005 Louisiana 5A state title), but he has only seen the scout team over the last few years and has yet to throw a football in a real, live college game. He has the talent and the time in the program, and he’s being given every chance to win the job.

6-2, 190-pound sophomore Colby Cameron got a little bit of work in his first season completing 14-of-26 passes for 142 yards and running for 20 yards with a score. While he was only got on the field in blowouts, it was enough time to get his feet wet a bit. A big-time high school passer with close to 5,000 yards with 47 touchdown passes in his last two seasons, and he’ll push to be the No. 2 man once again.

Watch Out For … Ensminger. Jenkins is the solid, steady starter, but Ensminger is more of the passer to fit the Air Raid attack.
Strength: The offensive style. If you’re a quarterback, this is the offense you dream about. It’s winging it around 50 times a game, it’s going to bring the big stats, and it’s going to be fun. The passing game is going to produce.
Weakness: The right guy. Ensminger is a senior who has yet to see the field, and Jenkins is more of a dinker and dunker with limited high-end passing skills. The Louisiana Tech star quarterback for this offense might be in high school and won’t be around until next year.
Outlook: The quarterbacks were along for the ride under Derek Dooley, but there’s going to be a night-and-day difference now under Sonny Dykes and with Tony Franklin tutoring the passers. The passes will come and the production will be there at times, but it’s not going to be pretty on a consistent basis.
Unit Rating: 6

Running Backs

Projected Starters: Sophomore Lyle Fitte came to Louisiana Tech as a wide receiver and got on the field as a true freshman making nine catches for 72 yards and splitting the kickoff and punt return duties. Now he’ll be the team’s most dangerous threat out of the backfield while being used mostly as a receiver. At 5-8 and 185 pounds, he’s small, lightning quick, and will get the ball in his hands around ten times a game in the rotation.

Projected Top Reserves: Junior Lennon Creer transferred over from Tennessee and has the potential to be the workhorse when the Bulldogs actually try to run the ball. At 6-1 and 205 pounds he’s a bruiser with the type of burst to come up with some big plays now and then. He was a solid runner for the Vols, but was squeezed out in a numbers game. In time, he should be the one the team revolves the ground game around.

5-8, 185-pound sophomore Tyrone Duplessis is a small speedster who saw time as a true freshman before getting hurt. Even though he only gained 277 yards and caught six passes for 63 yards, he was second on the team in rushing and saw a little time as a kick returner. He gained 75 yards on the ground against Hawaii and tore off 65 on 17 carries against LSU, and he’ll get his share of work in a variety of ways.

The Bulldogs aren’t going to use a fullback in a traditional sense, so 6-1, 230-pound senior Roosevelt Falls will have to find a role. Mostly a special teamer throughout his career, he caught two passes, got hurt, and was out for the year. He’ll be an occasional blocker and will continue to be one of the team’s top players on the coverage teams.

Watch Out For … the running back to be an afterthought. The new offense will hand the ball off occasionally, but the running backs will mostly be really quick, really shifty, and used as a receiver from time to time.
Strength: Extreme quickness. Fitte is a receiver who can fly around as a runner when he gets in space, Creer is fast for his size, and most of the other top running options can cut on a dime.
Weakness: Running. Fitte played a little bit of running back in high school, but he only has eight career carries. Creer is a true running back, but his experience is relatively limited. Injuries and the change in the offense will be an issue as the options try to define their roles.
Outlook: After averaging 184 rushing yards per game and finishing 29th in the country on the ground, the offense will change things up big-time and will be more about quick hits and getting the speedy backs on the move. Creer is a real running back who can carry the load from time to time, but Fitte and Duplessis will be the more interesting prospects.
Unit Rating: 5

Receivers

Projected Starters: As long as senior Phillip Livas is healthy, the offense has a No. 1 weapon to work around. He’s a lightning fast all-around playmaker and a peerless punt return man, but he has to show he can be more of a dependable receiver. He hasn’t had a top quarterback throwing to him, and it has shown only making 84 career catches with 20 grabs last year for a mere 205 yards and no scores. He’s only 5-8 and 175 pounds and he’ll have to fight to be the main man in the passing game, but he’s experienced and has too much talent to not get him the ball in his hands as much as possible.

Junior R.P. Stuart is a big, physical 6-3, 215-pound target who’ll serve like a tight end in the new attack (albeit a receiving tight end). He made 17 catches last season for 249 yards and a score, averaging 14.6 yards per catch, and now he has the potential to blow up being used on the Y. A great athlete for his size, he’ll move around where needed now that he’s healthy after suffering a sprained ACL late last year.

6-2, 185-pound redshirt freshman Jacarri Jackson gets the money position in the new attack working outside on the X. With good size and excellent deep speed, he’s a phenomenal prospect with a huge upside, but he needs to make a few big plays early to show he’s worth getting the ball to on a regular basis. He has No. 1 target ability, but it might take a year before he shows it off.

Tennessee transfer Ahmad Paige sat out last year and now is ready to shine at the Z. The 6-1, 180-pounder can fly as an all-star high school sprinter and top long and high jumper. He didn’t quite fit in with the Lane Kiffin regime and took off, and now he’ll get a chance to use his speed in a high-powered offense that should get him the ball on the move on a regular basis.

Projected Top Reserves: While Phillip Livas will end up starting, it was sophomore Richie Casey who sat on top of the depth chart at the H position coming out of spring ball. Extremely fast with next level wheels and athleticism, he was expected to be a big part of the offense as both a runner and receiver last year, but he suffered a knee injury and missed the entire season. He’s expected to quickly become a home run hitter.

LSU transfer Tim Molton was a Louisiana state high school runner up in the long jump and was a superstar receiver and kick return prospect. After redshirting, he transferred to Louisiana Tech and was supposed to be a factor right away before suffering a knee injury. At 6-2 and 170 pounds he’s tall, but wiry, and he’ll have to battle for time early on at the inside Z position.

While the offense isn’t built to use a tight end in the normal sense, junior Eric Harper will be used as a blocker and a short-range receiver from time to time. The 6-4, 230-pounder only caught two passes for 35 yards last year and has mostly been a special teamer since moving over from the defensive side, and now he’ll combine with R.P. Stuart at the Y.

Watch Out For … Paige. There are several good prospects who could end up turning into the main man, but the Tennessee transfer has the biggest upside. He was a fantastic get for the program with the SEC athleticism, speed, and talent to be a star right away.
Strength: The offense. Merry Christmas, Bulldog receivers. You came to Louisiana Tech to be a cog in the system, and now you’re going to get passes your way in bunches. The coaching staff will force these receivers to make big plays.
Weakness: Proven playmakers. Livas is a great veteran, but he hasn’t exactly set the world on fire as a target and only made 20 catches last year. In a perfect world in this offense, a top target makes 20 grabs in two games, but the young prospects are unproven.
Outlook: There’s plenty of speed, tons of good prospects, and lots of upside in the new Air Raid offense, but can anyone throw them the ball? After doing little to nothing at times last year in the passing game, now the Bulldog targets get their chance to shine. There are a few potential stars in this group, but one has to rise to the top and become seven-catch-a-game type of No. 1 guy.
Unit Rating: 6

Offensive Line

Projected Starters: The star of the offensive front will once again be Rob McGill, the 6-6, 310-pound senior who earned Second Team All-WAC honors for the second year in a row. A strong run blocker and a steady pass protector, he has the bulk and the strength to be the anchor up front once again and has just enough athleticism to be fine in the new offense.

Taking over at left guard for Ben Harris is Kevin Saia, a 6-2, 300-pound sophomore who stepped into the starting job late last year taking over in the final three games. Extremely strong, he’s built to power away for the running game, and now he needs to prove he can be a regular in pass protection worthy of holding down the job for the next three years.

Back as the main man in the middle for the third straight year, senior Lon Roberts has become a nice center with the agility and ability to be a perfect fit in the new blocking scheme. At 6-3 and 285 pounds he’s not huge, but he’s a tough run blocker and has been ultra-dependable with 37 career starts.

The hope will be for sophomore Stephen Warner to be the team’s starting right guard for the next three years, but at the very least he’ll be a key backup in the rotation. He’s only 6-0, but he gets good leverage with the 300 pound size that’s hard to move around. He started the last three games of last year and was solid, and now he has the potential to be great with a little more work.

Senior Cudahy Harmon is a massive 6-6, 310-pound blocker who started the first seven game of last year at right tackle before getting banged up. Surprisingly athletic for his size, he should be decent as a regular pass blocker when he’s able to get his hands on a pass rusher. However, he has to keep his weight down as he could balloon up to well over 325 pounds with a few burgers.

Projected Top Reserves: 6-3, 305-pound senior Jared Miles started for most of last year at right guard before giving way to Stephen Warner late. Versatile enough to step in at either guard spot, he’s a solid run blocker who’s great for the ground game but is limited in pass protection. While he’s not that bad, he’s at his best as a reliable backup rather than a full-time starter.

Sophomore Jordan Mills was one of the team’s top recruits last season and showed off some of his promise late in the year starting the final five games at left tackle. The 6-6, 325-pounder got some long looks from several big schools as either a defensive tackle or a big blocker for the offense, and now he’s going to be used as a top OT backup with the idea that he’ll be the anchor of the line next year when Rob McGill and Cudahy Harmon graduate.

Watch Out For … the sophomore guards. If Saia and Warner are good, the Bulldogs are set at guard for the next three years. The coaching staff will let them sink or swim to see if they can grow into the jobs.
Strength: Tackle. McGill is a proven all-star and Harmon and Mills are two of the best right tackle options in the WAC. The tackles will dominate in the running game when they get their chance to pound on someone.
Weakness: Proven pass protection. It’s not like Tech put on an air show last year and the line still couldn’t keep the QB Ross Jenkins upright. It’s going to take a little while to take to the new offense and there could be some rough patches.
Outlook: The line has an interesting mix of good young prospects who should fit the new system and tough old blockers who will be good enough to get by. This won’t be the most productive O line in the WAC mainly because of the change in styles, but the talent is there to be sneaky-good as the year goes on as long as McGill is an all-star again and Harmon and Mills combine to shine at right tackle.
Unit Rating: 6

- 2010 Louisiana Tech Preview | 2010 Louisiana Tech Offense
- 2010 Louisiana Tech Defense | 2010 Louisiana Tech Depth Chart
- Louisiana Tech Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006