Louisiana Tech Bulldogs: CFN College Football Preview 2021

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College Football News Preview 2021: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Louisiana Tech football season with what you need to know.

Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
Top Players | Keys To The Season
What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
Louisiana Tech Schedule Analysis
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Previews
2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

2020 Record: 5-5 overall, 4-2 in Conference USA
Head Coach: Skip Holtz, 9th year year, 61-41
2020 CFN Final Ranking: 103
2020 CFN Preview Ranking: 89
2019 CFN Final Ranking: 43

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs College Football Preview 2021: Offense

It was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Louisiana Tech offense, and it was that and more in a rough, rough run. The Bulldogs averaged 316 yards per game – they were 117th in the nation in total offense – but still found a way to put together around 27 points per game.

The ground game wasn’t there and the downfield passing attack was non-existent, but enough talent is back to hope for an instant improvement.

The quarterback combination of Luke Anthony and Aaron Allen is still around. They both hit over 60% of their throws, but they struggled with picks and didn’t add anything to the ground game. They’re both around 6-1 and 210ish, and they both have the experience in the system to do more.

The receiving corps should be okay. 5-6 Smoke Harris led the team with 39 catches, but he only averaged 7.8 yards per catch. Leading yardage guy Adrian Hardy is gone, and Wayne Toussant and Cee Jay Mowell are transferring out. Griffin Herbert is a 6-3 veteran who can stretch the field, and Isaiah Graham can hit the home run.

The offensive line gets four starters back, but there’s a ton of transfer in the transfer portal – it loses all-star C Kody Russey to Houston – and has to be a whole lot stronger after struggling for a ground game that averaged under 100 yards per game.

Junior Abraham Delfin might be an undersized 6-1 and 303 pounds, but he’s an all-star to work around, and getting in Samuel Williams from ULM should help.

Leading rushers Israel Tucker and Justin Henderson are gone, but 6-0, 205-pound former JUCO transfer Greg Garner was third with 115 yards and three touchdowns and Marcus Williams is on his way from Appalachian State. More on him in a bit.

– What You Need To Know: Defense
Top Players | Keys To The Season
What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
Louisiana Tech Schedule Analysis

NEXT: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs College Football Preview 2021: Defense

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs College Football Preview 2021: Defense

The defense was nowhere near good enough, but ten starters are expected back from a group that allowed 427 yards and 35 points per game. There wasn’t much of a pass rush and there was a problem against the run. That’s not a good thing with all-star Milton Williams the all-star loss at tackle.

The rest of the line is back with decent size. 6-3, 297-pound Kelvie Rose is a good-looking young player, and a few 300-pounders will help out in the rotation. Now the pass rush has to show up with Williams gone.

6-3, 240-pound senior Eric Kendzior, 6-4, 248-pound redshirt freshman Mykol Clark and 6-3, 257-pound sophomore DeShon Hall are part of the deep young group of options.

The linebacking corps is one of the team’s biggest strengths. Leading tackler Tyler Grubbs is only 6-1 and 221 pounds, but he’s tough. He’s a returning all-star coming off a 99-tackle season, and 6-2, 233-pound super-senior adds more bulk – he was second with 85 stops. 207-pound Ezekiel Barnett might not have the size, but he can move and he can hit.

The secondary could use some help with more of a pass rush, but everyone is back starting with the all-star safety tandem of BeeJay Williamson – he led the team with three picks and was third with 56 stops – and 34-stop super-senior Khalil Ladler.

The corners have to do more when the ball is in the air, but Zach Hannibal is a good one at one side and with more than enough veterans to rotate into the mix.

– What You Need To Know: Offense
Top Players | Keys To The Season
What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
Louisiana Tech Schedule Analysis

NEXT: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs College Football Preview 2021: Top Players

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs College Football Preview 2021: Top Players

Best Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Offensive Player

WR Griffin Hebert, Jr.
He wasn’t used enough last season, but he was one of the few Bulldog receivers who made a slew of big plays. He caught 19 passes for 275 yards and three scores – starting out with two touchdowns against Southern Miss – after averaging 17.9 yards per catch as a freshman.

He’s got 6-3 size, deep threat ability, and the upside to become a No. 1 target – at least that’s the hope in an receiving corps that needs some redoing.

2. RB Marcus Williams, Sr.
3. OG Abraham Delfin, Jr.
4. OG Joshua Mote, Jr.
5. PK Jacob Barnes, RFr.

Related

Louisiana Tech Football Schedule 2021, Analysis

Best Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Defensive Player

S BeeJay Williamson, Soph.
If it’s not one of the linebackers as the No. 1 guy, it’s one of the team’s most productive defensive backs.

The 6-1, 185-pound sophomore showed glimpses in 2019 in a 33-tackle season, and last year he did a little of everything as a strong playmaker in a solid secondary. The all-star made 56 tackles with three picks as one of the team’s steadier safties.

2. LB Trey Baldwin, Sr.
3. LB Ezekiel Barnett, Sr.
4. LB Tyler Grubbs, Fr.
5. S Khalil Ladler, Sr.

Top Incoming Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Transfer

RB Marcus Williams, Sr.
The Bulldogs needed a running back, and they got a good one from the transfer portal in the 5-10, 210-pound Williams. The former Appalachian State star ran for over 2,200 yards in his four years – 500 or more in each season – with 14 touchdowns averaging 5.5 yards per carry.

He only played in eight games last season, but he came up with three 100-yard days including a 101-yard, one-score day on just six carries in the win over North Texas. He’s fast, he can run with pop, and he should fit in right away.

– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
Keys To The Season
What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
Louisiana Tech Schedule Analysis

NEXT: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Biggest Key: Offense

Get the running game going again. The offensive line has the parts, and the backfield has a good transfer in Appalachian State’s Marcus Williams. Now it’s time to make the whole thing work.

The Bulldogs ran for 4.6 yards per carry with 27 touchdowns in 2019. ran for over five yards per pop in 2016 and 4.5 yards per carry in 2017. There were a few seasons when the O struggled and couldn’t hit the four-yard mark, but 2020 was a whole other level of problems.

The ground game not only averaged under three yards per carry, but it wasn’t close to consistent. It scored four times against North Texas, three against Houston Baptist and UTEP, and didn’t run for a touchdown in the other seven games.

However, get to 150 yards and good things happen – the program has won its last 18 games going back to 2017 when hitting the mark.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Biggest Key: Defense

Come up with more third down stops. That starts with generating more pressure.

The 2019 Bulldogs averaged 1.9 sacks per game and allowed teams to convert on 35% of their third down chances. The 2018 pass rush was devastating and the D also allowed teams to convert just 35% of their tries. The 2020 pass rush struggled, and teams converted on a whopping 48% of the time on third downs.

It didn’t always lead to losses, but it made things harder. Five teams converted 50% or more of their chances and two more came up with 40% or more.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Key Player To A Successful Season

QB Luke Anthony, Sr.
And/or sophomore Aaron Allen. J’Mar Smith was a steady leader and terrific three-year playmaker for the Bulldogs. The combination of Anthony and Allen – and go ahead and throw in freshman JD Head in there, too – came up with close to 2,100 passing yards and 20 touchdowns with 13 picks.

The interceptions were a problem, but consistency was the biggest issue.

Considering the running game couldn’t be counted on, it was tough when the offense couldn’t get big plays out of the passing game, averaging under six yards per pass in four of the last five games. The downfield plays have to return and the mistakes have to slow.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Key Game To The 2021 Season

at UAB, Nov. 6
Louisiana Tech has to slay the Blazer dragon again. The 2020 team had its problems, but it managed to get by the eventual Conference USA champion 37-34. Now it has to happen again, but on the road.

This is hardly a perfect Bulldog team, but it should be strong enough to get to five wins in the first eight games – four at worst. With Charlotte, Southern Miss and at Rice to close, there’s a chance to come up with something big with the finishing kick, too.

But lose at UAB – who gets a week off to get ready – and that might be it.

Louisiana Tech Football Schedule

2020 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Fun Stats

– Fumbles: Opponents 6 (lost 4) – La Tech 9 (lost 2)
– Punt Return Average: La Tech 18.56 – Opponents 1.88
– 4th Down Conversions: La Tech 15-of-17 (88%) – Opponents 10-of-18 (56%)

NEXT: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction

Louisiana Tech wasn’t very good at the whole college football thing in 2020 and it still went 5-5.

It wasn’t exactly the momentum year coming off the terrific 10-3 2019 season with a bowl win over Miami, but for being a mediocre run it wasn’t totally miserable.

There was a win over UAB, a close one-point loss at UTSA, and enough victories to get to a bowl game, even if it was a 38-3 New Orleans Bowl loss to Georgia Southern when nothing seemed to work right.

The 2021 version should be far more interesting. There are plenty of flaws and concerns, but this could be a case of okay-team-good-record.

Set The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Regular Season Win Total At … 7.5

Both sides of the line have to be night-and-day better, the offensive production has to return again, and the team has to do a better job of putting away the easy wins.

However, head coach Skip Holtz might have enough in place to push though the rough patches and come up with something solid.

At Mississippi State, at NC State – those are the two more likely losses. Going to UAB will be a problem, and dates against SMU, Southern Miss and Rice should be pesky. But this schedule screams seven wins – maybe eight.

It’s going to take some big performances out of areas that didn’t do much of anything, but the coaching is great, that schedule is soft – no Florida Atlantic, Marshall or WKU – and the program has become too good now to be mediocre.

The rebuilding/reloading 2020 was okay, but now the payoff has to be there – and it probably will be.

– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
Top Players | Keys To The Season
Louisiana Tech Football Schedule