Bullish About the Dogs–A Look into Louisiana Tech

Posted by: Avinash on Thursday, September 13th, 2007

A promising start by the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs has them optimistic about their chances against the California Golden Bears

Every week, I try to interact with fans of Cal’s upcoming opponent to get an idea as to what to expect (Tennessee was Week 1, Colorado State Week 2). Every week, between the madness, the homers, and the trolls, useful information comes out. I post this in a weekly installment. This week the opponent is the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. Here are the ruminations from Bulldog Barks and Bytes. (If you haven’t already, buy your tickets!)

You’re coming off a strong showing against Hawaii and their Heisman candidate Colt Brennan, and nearly knocked them off on the final play. What are the big positives you can take from that game into Memorial Stadium?

Positives are that our coach is willing to win. That was shown the drive before our final TD when we ran Dennis Morris on 4th down. It has been along time since we have had a coach that is willing to do what it takes to win. Going on 4th, going for two, and bringing the Blitz consistently throughout the game.

The team played with lot more heart than we saw all last season. With that attitude, we know we have a chance against anybody.

The offense has clearly shown it can put up big numbers, especially on the ground; do you think the best strategy would be to rely mainly on the running attack, and should Cal look to stifle the Bulldogs on the ground? How good is your QB, Zac Champion?

Opponents would be wise to focus on Tech’s running game.. however, as skeptical as Zac Champion has looked at times, he is getting better. His improvement from last year to this year is phenomenal. His improvement from UCA to Hawaii was clearly noticeable. As Zac hones in his long passes, the passing game is about to go off of the charts. I look to see his timing come into play either this week or next.

I really don’t know that the offense has shown much. Hawaii’s style really stretches the game, which can inflate offensive numbers. Champion showed last week that he is capable of throwing enough to take some of the pressure off of the running game, but our primary attack is still running the football. If Cal can stop the run, it may be a long day for the Dawgs. A little improvement from Champion, and a little more improvement from the receivers could change that a little.

The defense was predictably shredded by Brennan, but was that just because of Hawaii’s passing game, or is it really the Achilles heel of Tech? What are the strengths and weaknesses of Tech?

Tech’s defense looked to be miles ahead of where we were last year. It feels dumb to say that after we just gave up over 500 yards passing, but we also got several sacks and 3 turnovers, which would not have happened with last year’s defense. It’s hard to say right now what the strengths and weaknesses are — we’ve played a I-AA team and Hawaii. Although we haven’t given up many rushing yards, its hard to call rushing D our strength. I will say that our front 7 are pretty solid, but we haven’t really tested our depth in that department yet. i would say that special teams look like a strength thus far — think we are ranked #2 in the nation in net punting.

Tech’s passing defense held Hawaii to only 45 points. I can’t remember the last time Hawaii only scored 45 points. (That is including an overtime period) Colt Brennan is legit. Tech’s weakness again is in their passing game. On the defensive side, I think the most suspect area is in the short pass game. It may have been due to game planning to take the long pass away from Brennan, but the 0 to 8 yard passing D was horrible.

Are there any players to look out for in particular on Saturday? Who do you think will have the biggest impact on the Bulldog side? Any NFL prospects?

LB Quinn Harris will be everywhere on the defensive side. TE Dennis Morris is a huge athlete and can line up in almost any skill position on offense. The ESPN announcer Saturday was saying that both ot will be playing on Sundays, but I don’t know if I believe that.

Other Players to watch, on defense: Josh Muse, Chris Pugh, Tony Moss. Offense: Patrick Jackson, Daniel Porter. Special Teams: Chris Keagle. Sleeper Stud: Phillip Beck

What are the expectations for this season? What will be deemed by your students and alumni as a successful season?

If you asked that two weeks ago, most fans would have said “just as long as we show some heart and win more than last year (3) it will be a success for Dooley’s first year.” but after Saturday’s game, I think expectations have rose significantly. Realistically, I expect 5-7 wins this season (7 won’t be easy with this schedule) and will be thrilled to death if we have more.

Expectations at the beginning of the season were unsure due to an unproven head coach. However, they have quickly risen. An 8 win season is what we are looking for. I believe we will win 9, but 8 is a pretty standard opinion. Anything less than 2nd in the WAC, behind Hawaii, in my opinion will be disappointing. 3rd place may be more of a realistic “satisfactory” consensus.

Finally, what will it take to pull off the upset against the Bears? What would have to go right for Louisiana Tech to shock the college football landscape?

Louisiana Tech will have to shut down the run game and force the Bears to pass, giving the Dawgs a chance to create some take aways. On the offensive side of the ball, if Zac Champion can connect in stride with his down field receivers, Louisiana Tech will have a chance to upset.

Also we need seriously intense defense — we’ll have to get in your QB’s head if we want to win this one. we’ll also need to “punch you in the mouth” early, like we did against Hawaii. and like I said earlier, if we played with the fire and intensity that we did last week, we’ll have a chance to win every game.

(Don’t forget that the Pac-10 season kicks off next week! Get to buying your tickets Bears!)

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