Dooley Looking for Another SEC Scalp

Louisiana Tech head football coach Derek Dooley discusses his team's season opener vs. the Auburn Tigers.

Ruston, La.--Derek Dooley, who was a candidate for the Auburn head coaching job that went to Gene Chizik last December, will be trying to spoil Chizik's AU debut on Saturday evening at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

In his third season of directing a rebuilding project at Louisiana Tech, Dooley has a 13-12 record with the Bulldogs, including an 8-5 mark in 2008.

One of those wins last year was the season-opening 22-14 victory over Mississippi State, the only SEC team the Bulldogs faced in 2008.

Louisiana Tech has never beaten Auburn with one tie and 10 losses in previous matchups. The Bulldogs have struggled throughout their history vs. teams from the SEC. The last time the two teams met was in 2004 when an undefeated Auburn team cruised to a 52-7 victory.

"We overcame some demons last year against the SEC," Dooley says. "Not only have we not won in a long time, we have gotten blown out many times so we did overcome some demons.

"Now we have to overcome some demons of playing them on the road," Dooley adds. "That is certainly a challenge when you go into those SEC environments because we are not used to that. It was an important win for our program, but I have always felt like one game does not define a program or a season. This game is really no exception."

Dooley is the son of former Auburn quarterback Vince Dooley, who also worked as an assistant football coach for the Tigers before being appointed head coach at Georgia. Louisiana Tech also has another coach on the staff with Auburn connections, Jimmy Brumbaugh, who played on the defensive line for the Tigers in the 1995-99.

"He is a football coach who has a bright future in this profession," Dooley says. "Of course, I got his name from Pete Jenkins, who also has some serious Auburn ties. I worked for Pete at LSU and Pete is obviously very well respected on defensive line play and Jimmy played for Pete and has learned from Pete. We are happy Jimmy is part of our program. He is doing an outstanding job."

Louisiana Tech has another Auburn connection. Backup quarterback Steven Ensminger transferred to Ruston after originally signing with the Tigers. He is the son of former AU assistant coach Steve Ensminger, who is coaching high school football this season at Smiths Station.

Louisiana Tech closed its season with a victory over Northern Illinois in the Indendence Bowl and returns nine starters on offense and seven on defense for the game. Chizik says he has been impressed with what he has seen on video of the Bulldogs from last season.

Kickoff for the Tigers vs. Bulldogs matchup is set for 6 p.m. Saturday and the game will be televised on ESPNU. From a national perspective, the focus on the game will be to watch how Chizik does in his Auburn debut after making the move from Iowa State, where he was head coach the past two years.

"It is not going to matter who the coaches are, it is not going to matter how many people are in the stands," Dooley says of the season opener for both teams. "The only thing that is going to matter is how the two teams play against each other. As long as we keep our focus on what we need to do to compete, that is the most important thing and I think we will give them our best shot."

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