2009 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Football Preview
2008 Record: (8-5, 5-3)
2008 Bowl: Independence Bowl vs. Northern Illinois (W 17-10)
Coach: Derek Dooley (13-12 at Louisiana Tech, 13-12 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Frank Scelfo
Defensive Coordinator: Tommy Spangler
Other Key Returnees: DE Jared Barron, DE Matt Broha, G Kris Cavitt, OT Cudahy Harmon, G Ben Harris, DT Mason Hitt, DE Kwame Jordan, OT Rob McGill, TE Dennis Morris, C Lon Roberts, LB Brian White
Key Losses: WR Philip Beck, CB Weldon Brown, LB Quin Harris, TE Anthony Harrison, CB Stevon Howze, LB Brannon Jackson, P Chris Keagle, K Brad Oestriecher
Last year Louisiana Tech had a great defensive line. This year the unit should be dominating. Defensive tackle D’Anthony Smith will be a superstar and his partner in crime, Mason Hitt is back as well. Both starting ends, Jared Barron and Matt Broha return, as does the emerging Kwame Jordan. With those five leading the way, the line should be the best in the Western Athletic Conference.
Louisiana Tech's Strengths:
The offense was relatively effective in 2008 and they should be better in 2009. Quarterback Ross Jenkins is not the most efficient signal caller in the conference, but he is an upperclassman now and at least he tends to minimize his mistakes and keep the interceptions to a minimum. And when the passing game was going nowhere, the Bulldogs relied on running back Daniel Porter. The 5-9 senior rushed for 1,164 yards and nine touchdowns in 2008 and he might have some more work to do this time around. That is because receiver Philip Beck and tight end Anthony Harrison are gone. Phillip Livas will once again be the team’s go-to-guy, but Louisiana Tech needs to find another receiving threat or two if the offense is going to be better than it was last season.
Louisiana Tech's Weaknesses:
While the front four will dominate, the rest of the defense has some holes to fill. The group in the middle lost Quin Harris and Brannon Jackson and corners Weldon Brown and Stevon Howze are also gone. That leaves a lot of holes in the back seven that was not great to begin with. Linebacker Brian White is suddenly the leader of the unit and safeties Antonio Baker and Deon Young have to step up. However, that does not address the needs at corner and at the rest of the linebacker corps. Defensive coordinator Tommy Spangler better find some new players to fill those holes or the secondary will struggle no matter how good the front four plays.
The Bottom Line for the Bulldogs:
The defense should be just as good as it was last season as long as they can continue to create turnovers. Now it depends on how well the offense, particularly the passing game, improves. With the entire starting line back, there is certainly reason to be optimistic. If Jenkins can emerge as a consistent passer and the team does not rank last in the conference in passing offense, Louisiana Tech has an outside shot of winning the conference, especially since Boise State has to come to Joe Aillet Stadium.
By Joel Welser
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