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Opponent preview: just how good is LaTech?

OBNUG’s game previews are written by reader-turned-contributor Stephen Grettenberg. Because not every article should contain pinings for Marty Tadman.

Louisiana Tech vs. Boise State

Mississippi State learned the hard way not to look past Louisiana Tech. With the possible exception of Idaho, just about any team can win any game, especially if the other team is cocky from winning a big game the week before or they can’t run block consistently.

The good news is Boise State is at home, and reports indicate players are focusing on the next game. With a few extra days to prepare, maybe Boise State can get back to some run blocking fundamentals, because sooner or later being unbalanced would end any chance of an unbeaten season with an upset. Odds are Louisiana Tech is not up to the task, but they should provide ample opportunity for the Broncos to get the kinks out of the running game. I hope to see some long runs this week.

Louisiana Tech Coaching:

Derek Dooley’s inaugural crew went 5-7 last year, and hope to get one more to be bowl eligible this time around.

Hang down your head, Derek Dooley

Hang down your head and cry

Hang down your head, Derek Dooley

Poor boy, you're bound to die

Okay, death is taking it a bit far, but I thought I’d misquote the Kingston Trio anyway… But Louisiana Tech’s defense is simply not up to the task. Derek Dooley came from a coaching family and is part of the old boy football coaching network in the South. Dooley is a former Sabanite (the evil despised cult of Nick Saban coaches, hated by fans of the Miami Dolphins), a former lawyer, and a second year coach that has Louisiana Tech improving. Reason enough to dislike the man?

Try listening to a Derek Dooley preview of Boise State:

LaTech athletics

He is respectful enough of Boise State, but his discussion last Thursday that today is a relative Monday of a modified Thursday week is as absurd as it is incomprehensible, even without the southern drawl. After enough platitudes to bring the duck-billed platypus to extinction, Dooley later comments, "Hopefully we can win Saturday night, which is Wednesday night." Easy to lose in all that talk is their stated game strategy. They hope to get both of their main backs, Patrick Jackson and Daniel Porter, going and run a lot at Boise State.

Louisiana Tech on Offense & Special Teams:

Louisiana Tech’s opening day win over an SEC bowl team looked better before Mississippi State ended up at its current 1-4. That week saw Georgia Tech transfer Taylor Bennett's first start at QB for Louisiana Tech. Bennett was once a Boise State recruit, so it would be inhospitable not to welcome him to the blue turf hard and often. Bennett was less than spectacular, going a mere 14/40 for 175 yards, a TD, and an interception at Mississippi State. Running back Patrick Jackson ran for 62 yards on 17 carries with 2 TDs, and threw an interception on his only pass attempt. Brad Oestriecher went 3/3 for field goals, including one for 50 yards.

For all practical intents and purposes the Louisiana Tech offense did not bother to show on the road at ranked Kansas, getting blanked. Early on, Kansas seemed a bit confused with the no huddle offense, but they adjusted quickly and shut Louisiana Tech down. Bennett was 12/33 for 119 yards and an interception.

Louisiana Tech padded their offensive stats a bit by beating SE Louisiana 41 – 26. Bennett went 15/27 for 196 yards, a TD, and an interception. The best facet of the game actually for Louisiana Tech was the special teams play, returns of a punt and a blocked field goal for touchdowns. RB Porter rushed for 97 yards on 19 carries and caught two passes for 53 yards, with a TD rushing and receiving.

Aside from the no huddle aspect of the offense and the intercepted halfback pass, Louisiana Tech runs a fairly ordinary balanced offense (491 yards rushing to 490 yards passing) with a smattering of play action passing, running between the tackles, and passing to WR Phillip Livas. With 11 catches for 173 yards, Livas is the only LaTech player with over 5 catches. The two touchdown passes went to the running backs though.

Louisiana Tech on Defense:

The Bulldogs are a bit better against the run than they are passing, and I expect Kellen Moore can pick their secondary apart. The secondary does not have the speed to stay with Boise State's best receivers.

The team is young and improving. They can be had at times with motion and play action, obviously a strength of Boise State. While it might be easier to pass on this team, I really hope to see improvement in the Broncos running game.

The Game:

I expect Louisiana Tech to come out emphasizing the running game a bit over the pass. They will do their best to play Boise State tough like they did last year, but Boise State has also improved, and this one is on the blue turf. Expect the secondary to get burned on at least a few big plays.

The pick:

Boise State will pad its offensive numbers in their first WAC game this year, and Louisiana Tech won’t be able to keep up.