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Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

The Lowdown
Coach: Jack Bicknell III
(6th season, 27-32)
2003 record: 5-7
WAC finish: 3-5 (7th)
'03 I-A Offensive Rankings:
Rush: 72nd (137.8 ypg)
Pass: 11th (293.3 ypg)
'03 I-A Defensive Rankings:
Rush: 115th (237.7 ypg)
Pass: 108th (272.8 ypg)
2004 Schedule
Date Opponent
Sept. 11 UL Lafayette
Sept. 18 at Miami
Sept. 25 at Tennessee
Oct. 2 Fresno State
Oct. 9 at Auburn
Oct. 16 at SMU
Oct. 23 UTEP
Oct. 30 Nevada
Nov. 6 at Hawaii
Nov. 13 Tulsa
Nov. 20 at Boise State
Nov. 27 at Rice
Depth Chart: Offense
8 returning starters in bold
Ps. No. Player Yr. No. Player Yr.
WR 88 Tramissian Davis Sr.   Seneca Chambers Jr.
WR 22 Julius Cosby Sr. 82 Eric Newman Jr.
WR 87 Johnathan Holland So. 80 Jason Thomas So.
%WR 19 Erick Franklin Sr. 2 Freddie King Jr.
LT 68 Lester Brown Sr.   Tyler Miller Fr.
LG 64 Aaron Lips Jr. 50 Ira Horyna Sr.
C 56 Marcus Stewart Jr.   Jacob Peeler Jr.
RG 55 Jordan Lang Sr. 78 Marcus Lindsey So.
RT 72 Adrian Gonzalez Sr. 63 Ryan Considine Fr.
TE 84 Aaron Capps Sr. 89 Anthony James Jr.
QB 13 Matt Kubik Jr. 7 Donald Allen Jr.
RB 20 Ryan Moats Jr. 4 Danny Wilson Sr.
Depth Chart: Defense
8 returning starters in bold
Ps. No. Player Yr. No. Player Yr.
DE 99 Jemelle Cage Sr. 45 Travon Brown Sr.
NT 96 Chris Van Hoy Sr.   Josh Muse Fr.
DT 98 Moqut Ruffins Jr. 85 Quarvay Winbush Jr.
WLB 8 Jeremy Hamilton Jr.   Quincy Hicks Jr.
BLB 47 John Nash Sr.   Barry Robertson Jr.
MLB 52 T.J. Jackson Sr. 58 Brannon Jackson Fr.
SLB 42 Byron Santiago Sr. 49 Wendell Crowe Jr.
CB 24 Jerron Wishom Sr.   Torrance Hampton Jr.
CB 1 Corey Brazil Sr.   Hiram Eugene Jr.
SS 21 Michael Johnson Sr.   Bo Cox Jr.
FS 27 Lee Johnson Sr. 46 Ricardo Jeanlouis Jr.
Special Teams
Ps. No. Player Yr. Ps. No. Player Yr.
K 30 Zach Myatt Fr. P   David Black Fr.
KR 82 Eric Newman Jr. PR 1 Corey Brazil Sr.

Jack Bicknell III enters his sixth season at Louisiana Tech with little room for error. After leading the Bulldogs to the Western Athletic Conference title in 2001, Tech struggled with back-to-back losing seasons, including a disappointing 5-7 campaign in '03.

In this make-or-break season, Bicknell must hope that new defensive coordinator Tim Rose, known as a quick-fix artist, can work his magic on a Tech defense that surrendered 672 rushing yards to Rice in the '03 season finale.

Rose is ditching Tech's 4-3 alignment for a 3-4 look that promises to take advantage of the Bulldogs' speed and athleticism. MO<"We love the 3-4 defense," senior defensive end Jemelle Cage said. "It fits our personality and makes us play fast and not be the target. The offense is the target, not us."

Bicknell must also find a new starting quarterback and backup for the first time in four years. A quartet of unproven players must battle for the starting spot. None of them -- junior Matt Kubik, junior Donald Allen, redshirt freshman Zac Champion or junior Brent Rawls, an Oklahoma transfer -- has attempted a pass in college.

"It's challenging in a sense that we haven't seen any of these guys do anything," Bicknell said. "All of the quarterbacks are in different stages of development."

The spring battle was a three-man race after Rawls reported to camp with a broken hand that required surgery. He will join the competition in August but missed valuable playing time during the spring.

Offense
With McCown and his gaudy offensive numbers no longer in town, tailback Ryan Moats will take on more of the offensive burden. And that could be good news. He rushed for 1,300 yards as a sophomore and averaged an impressive 6.5 yards per carry.

Tech must replace its two starting receivers in D.J. Curry and Chris Norwood, but Bicknell believes he has enough talent for the Bulldogs to have a dangerous receiving corps. Seniors Erick Franklin and Tramissian Davis are the leading returnees.

Bicknell believes the offensive line will be a strength, and it should be with the return of all five starters. Left guard Aaron Lips is entering his third season as a starter. The 6-foot-5, 309-pound junior is one of the top offensive linemen in the WAC and will be a future NFL player.

Defense
Rose's new 3-4 front will give Tech a different look. Senior Chris Van Hoy, a 6-4, 308-pounder, will occupy the all-important nose spot. Van Hoy is a two-year starter who has showed promise in the past but is still waiting on that breakout season.

If there is a strength to a defense that finished last in the nation in '03, it is the linebackers. Jeremy Hamilton and Byron Santiago, a pair of speedy playmakers, will be turned loose on the edges. Santiago emerged as a starter midway through the season and was far and away Tech's best defensive player.

The Bulldogs return a seasoned secondary that gets a boost from the return of Corey Brazil, a two-year starter who gained another year of eligibility because as a partial qualifier, he is on target to graduate in four years.

Specialists
Kicker Josh Scobee, Tech's all-time leading scorer, left for the NFL. Redshirt freshman Zach Myatt will be given a chance to take over, but coaches aren't convinced he is ready. True freshman Danny Horwedel will be given a close look in August as well. The punting chores will be handled by one of two true freshmen, David Black, a walk-on, or Matt Butler, otherwise a safety.

Final Analysis
Bicknell had to fight to keep his job and was forced to fire co-defensive coordinator Rick Smith, whose defense ranked last in Division I-A. Rose's new-look defense will get tested early. After opening with Louisiana-Lafayette at home, the Bulldogs hit the road and play at Miami, at Tennessee and at Auburn. That's the type of schedule that can get a coach fired.

Click here for a complete list of 2004 Team Previews from Athlon

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