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March 8, 2010

Dykes' first spring football brings new faces and new ways

In eight days, Sonny Dykes will be starting his first Spring Football as Louisiana Tech's head football coach. With him comes many new faces and more notably new philosophies.

On offense, Tony Franklin brings his "system" to Ruston. In a recent media event Franklin said this of his offense: "We have a very simple system to put in. It'll take three days to have the whole offense in. It'll all be in and it'll look like crap. Then it'll slowly be refined and by the end of the spring we'll have an idea what it should look like. The faster we get it in the better it will look."

Along with Franklin, comes Rob Likens who has known both Dykes and Franklin for many years after meeting them when they were on staff together at the University of Kentucky. Likens' offenses at Central Connecticut led the league in offense every year he was there and were modeled after the "Air Raid" system that was used by Kentucky. Likens will serve as the associate head coach.

Louisiana Tech will look like a polar opposite team come April 10th at the spring game. Under Derek Dooley Tech had an old style football look to them. Some even said Dooley tried to play like he was in the SEC without being in the SEC. The Western Athletic Conference (WAC) is not a ball control conference though. You have to be able to score early and often on teams in the WAC. With Dykes, Franklin and Likens leading our offense we should be able to score early often and become the offensive juggernaut Louisiana Tech was known for in the 90's under Gary Crowton.

With a closer look at the personnel on the Bulldog football team it is evident at wide receiver Tech has the depth and talent to run this style offense effectively. Richie Casey is coming off his second ACL surgery and has great speed and work ethic but will likely miss spring football. Lyle Fitte is coming off a true freshman season that he spent learning how to play the wide receiver position much like Phillip Livas did in his freshman year. Livas comes back for his senior season as one of the nations biggest scoring threats. Livas scores running the ball, receiving, and returning. Possessing killer speed, Livas is truly a game changer. Livas will probably participate in spring football but is not yet 100 percent with a toe injury. Cruz Williams showed the ability to stretch the field multiple times during his redshirt freshman year, but Tech quarterbacks failed to deliver the ball to him in stride. Ahmad Paige comes back "home" to Louisiana Tech through the University of Tennessee and is a Sterlington, LA native. Paige has good speed and also can stretch the field for the Bulldogs and sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. R.P. Stuart will miss this spring after having season-ending knee surgery last season. Tim Molton transferred to Louisiana Tech from LSU and sat out last year due to an injury and NCAA transfer rules. Molton is a guy that can catch the ball in the flat much like Livas and turn an 8 yard catch into 80 yards in the blink of an eye. Jacarri Jackson redshirted last year for the Bulldogs and is a big physical wide receiver with big hands. Sharman Brown also redshirted last year for the Bulldogs and is a "do it all" receiver. He can be a possession receiver, a slot receiver, or even go across the middle. [db]D.J. St Julien[/db] greyshirted last year for the Bulldogs and possesses great speed. The Bulldogs are deep at wide receiver, but due to injuries the T Day Spring Game on April 10th may make the Bulldogs appear a little thin at the position.

Quarterbacks

The quarterback position is a position that has a big question mark hovering over it. Ross Jenkins looks to return for his senior season at LA Tech. Jenkins has had some off the field issues however this off season and is coming back from offseason shoulder surgery. Jenkins was arrested for DWI and his blood alcohol level was three-times the legal limit at .228. Following this event Jenkins had a long road of recovery to get back in Dykes' good graces. Recently, Jenkins had an additional set back that could put him further behind. Redshirt Freshman Doak Raulston has the tools to be very successful in this type of offense. Colby Cameron enters his redshirt Sophomore year after getting some much needed game experience last year under Dooley. Steven Ensminger had moved to tightend at the end of last season but look for him to try for a shot at the starting job at quarterback. Randy Hardin will most likely have another role on the team other than quarterback as he is ailed by a nagging toe injury, possibly in a student coaching role. In the fall, Taylor Burch will come in and learn the offense and most likely redshirt.

Runningbacks

Lennon Creer comes to Louisiana Tech after transferring from Tennessee. Creer is a big physical back that has the speed to break the long runs. Tyrone Duplessis is a stocky back with great vision and great hands. D.J. Morrow is another back with great hands and vision. Also, has a decent arm as demonstrated last season. Myke Compton is a redshirt senior and has probably the biggest heart in the bunch and plays 200 percent every down.

Offensive Line

The Bulldogs return all five starters from a year ago and all the backups. This is a position the Bulldogs will probably shine in. The Bulldogs had two different starting rotations last season so that should help immensely down the stretch.

LT - Jordan Mills and Rob McGill
LG - Kevin Saia
C - Lon Roberts
RG - Stephen Warner and Jared Miles
RT - Rob McGill and Cudahy Harmon

Tightends

Participating in spring football at tightend for Tech will be Chandler Spence, Eric Harper, Andre Taylor, and Clayton Chambers. Spence is a big physical tightend who needs to work on his hands but possesses great blocking abilities. Harper also needs to work on his hands and his probably one of the best athletes on the team. Taylor is coming off a greyshirt year for the Bulldogs. Chambers has never seen the field at tightend and at one time was listed as an offensive lineman.

Coming soon will be a defensive preview for Louisiana Tech.


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