For the third straight time, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs have hired the son of a former coaching legend. After Sonny Dykes took the California coaching job, the Bulldogs decided to bring in Skip Holtz, who will now follow behind Derek Dooley and Sonny Dykes as the lastest son to coach the bulldogs. Unlike the other two, Holtz has previous head coaching experience with stops at Uconn, Eastern Carolina and South Florida. He will have his hands full this season as Louisiana Tech is only returning seven starters across the board. The Bulldogs have always been the little team that could shock people and do more than expected. But this year, expectations could be low for the bulldogs as they will have a tough time in a Conference USA.
The Bulldogs offense will be an inexperienced unit coming into this season, returning only three starters from last year. They will hope to build a good chemistry heading into the start of the season, and will try to lead the bulldogs to another winning record. They will be lead by Texas Tech transfer Scotty Young, who is a junior and sat out last year. Young has not had any playing time, but an advantage he has will be the simple fact he has spent a year with most of the offensive unit in practice, which should help chemistry. Don’t be surprised to see the Bulldogs rely heavily on their running game early in the year to help Young get his feet wet, with the running back combo of Kenneth Dixon and Tevin King. Luckily for the Bulldogs both Dixon and King are sophomores and could become one of the best backfield duos in Conference USA.
While the receiving unit as a hole will be less experienced, there is a silver lining and that is they return first team WAC receiver, DJ Banks who is a senior this year. I would look for him to be Young’s primary target, but they also added in LSU transfer, Sophomore Paul Turner and also return a couple juniors Hunter Lee and Eddie Johnson. Overall the unit may be weaker and won’t be as explosive as it has been, but I would think this unit could become a dangerous group as the season wears on. But for Young to be able to get the ball downfield, or even have a successful running game, the offensive line will need to step up and be impenetrable. Unfortunately, I don’t see this unit being that good, they lost some stellar players and don’t look to have the experience it will need in the tougher conference. The offense as a whole could wind up being very explosive for Louisiana Tech as long as all the pieces fall into place.
While the Offense will be a little “green”, the defense doesn’t look to be in much better position, returning only 4 starters. The Defensive line may wind up being the best unit on the field because they do return 7 from the depth chart last year, led by seniors Shakeil Lucas and Ik Enemkpali, who both saw some starting time last year. The D-line could be a difference maker by getting good pressure on the opposing offense and help out their weaker unit. While the linebackers were a question last year, they will once again be a question this year as well. They added in 3 Juco players who could help the depth and give them some chance at being a better unit this year.
The secondary will also be a big question on the defensive side of the ball this year; they lost four from last year. But there is some experience with the players who are returning did see some playing time last year. This unit won’t be a shut down group, but as the season moves along, they will probably have improved numbers each week. Don’t expect to see teams put up big passing numbers week in and week out. I don’t see much drop off for the Bulldogs this season, but they won’t be winning as many as last year, but I do see this team finding their way into a bowl game this year. Maybe this time they will accept an invitation and not try to grab a better offer.
8/31-At NC State-L
2013 Record: 7-5