Senior Daniel Porter will once again lead the Bulldog rushing attack. Porter was first team All-WAC last season after rushing for over 1,000 yards and 9 touchdowns. Junior Myke Compton is the second team running back. COmpton was a three star recruit out of Tucker, GA and was a special teams standout for Coach Dooley last year. True Freshman D.J. Morrow looks to be a serious challenger for the backup job.
Phillip Livas led all receivers with over 600 yards last season. More known for his return game capabilities, Livas stretches the field for the offense. R.P. Stuart and Houston Tuminello gained significant experience as true freshmen last year and will be counted on to carry more of the offensive load in 2009. Stuart has good size at 6'3" and is very versatile. Tuminello has shown tremendous hands and Jenkins will look to him when he needs a first down.
Cruz Williams was a highly touted recruit out of Arkansas in 2008. The redshirt freshman has the size and speed to upgrade the receiver position for Louisiana Tech. True Freshman Jaccari Jackson has similar size and speed and will also look to break into the rotation. Fellow freshmen Lyle Fitte and Sharman Brown also have the potential to help in 2009. Adrian Linwood will also be in the mix.
Seniors Dustin Mitchell and Dennis Morris are big, athletic, and in 2009, they are experienced tight ends. Able to play all over the field, Mitchell and Morris play tight end, split end, and fullback for Louisiana Tech. Roosevelt Falls returns as more of a true fullback and Chandler Spence will look to get his first career action at Tight End.
The Offensive line returns almost everyone. Juniors Rob McGill, Cudahy Harmon, Jared Miles, and Lon Roberts are all returning starters and will anchor the 2009 unit. Senior Ben Harris and Sophomore Kris Cavitt will also contend for starting jobs. Harmon and Miles both trimmed down over the offseason and will look to have big years this season. Kevin Saia, Will Taylor, and Stephen Warner will provide valuable depth to a unit that lacked numbers in 2008. Jordan Mills is a true freshman with a bright future at offensive tackle for Louisiana Tech.
The Defense starts up front with tackle D'Anthony Smith. Projected online as a first round draft pick, Smith will command constant double teams inside. Mason Hitt returns next to Smith and junior college transfer John White joins Ramone Randle and Adrian Logan as the backup defensive tackles.
In the always important task of pressuring the quarterback, the defense end position is key. Kwame Jordan, Christian Lacey, Matt Broha, Randy Grigsby, and Jared Barron give Defensive Coordinator Tommy Spangler plenty of depth to rotate fresh legs in and out of the game. Lacey showed alot of potential as a true freshman and Jordan showed an ability to get to the quarterback. Barron and Broha were very active in their first seasons and Grigsby gives the team much needed size in run support.
A wildcard for Coach Dooley is Eric Harper. Harper might have been the most prized recruit of Coach Dooley's second recruiting class. At 6'4", Harper has the size and athleticism to help the team in numerous ways. Whether he lines up at linebacker, defensive end, or tight end; Harper could be a breakout player for Louisiana Tech.
Adrian Cole was the backup middle linebacker as a true freshman last year. Cole will take over the starting spot after showing great insticts in 2008. Dusty Rust will push Dominique Faust for one outside linebacker spot. On the other side Kiamni Washington and Brian White each started games in 2008. White and Faust are the favorites to start against Auburn, but Rust and Washington will see plenty of action.
Solomon Randle has a great oppurtunity to backup his fellow Alabama native Cole in the middle. Another option for Coach Spangler is to move the versatile Rust inside to backup Cole. True freshman Rufus Porter could play early on the outside and fellow newcomers IK Enemkpali and Kendrick James will also be in the mix.
Another key player for the coaches is Jay Dudley, who is talented enough to start on the outside or even backup Cole in the middle. Dudley missed most of last year, but could very well take one of the starting linebacker spots with a good fall.
Antonio Baker and Deon Young lead the most experienced position on the team. The two senior safeties are back as well as super-sub Tank Calais. Tank is a special teams constant and will help a lot in nickel situations. CJ Broades and Javantay Crowe have an oppurtunity to grab a second team spot. Senior Shawn Simmons holds the position as camp opens.
Junior College transfer Olajuwan Paige will battle Terry Carter and Josh Victorian for the starting spots at corner. Quin Giles might be the most ready to play freshman on the team. Giles and Chad Boyd could both be playing early as true freshmen.
For punt returns and kick returns, Livas is all you need to know. Freshmen Lyle Fitte and Tyrone Duplessis will add even more speed to the equation.
Kicker Matt Nelson and Punter Cade Glascow are the favorites to start the season. The two freshmen from Texas have the tools necessary to get the job done. Nelson has a big leg.
If one of the receivers steps up to help Livas, the offense could really take off behind an experienced line and Porter. The defense lost key seniors in Quin Harris, Weldon Brown, and Brannon Jackson but brings back a lot of talent and depth. The team lloks to be much improved in 2009 but they face a tougher schedule.
We will break down the schedule soon, but from the looks of the roster; this team has all the pieces in place to make another run to a bowl game.