Bulldogs Prepare for Texas A&M

Nobody was thinking the Sonny Dykes offense would be hitting on all cylinders by Week No. 2, but most people thought there would at least be a quarterback in place.

Instead, there are still three fighting to be named the Louisiana Tech starter this week vs. Texas A&M. The team's Week 1 win over Grambling State, with a lackluster offensive showing overall from the Bulldogs, did almost nothing to get the coaching staff and closer to settling in on just one signal caller.

Steven Ensminger, who was named the team's starter in August after just a week of camp, didn't play in the opener against Grambling State after a stomach virus left him unable to practice. Considering how inconsistent he had been practicing, however, last year's starter Ross Jenkins may have taken the job back anyway in time for the opener.

But it was Colby Cameron, who has been working out as a wide receiver recently, who actually looked the best against Grambling State and who could emerge as the Bulldogs' starter, as he moved the offense well, even if he didn't guide a touchdown drive.

"We'll see how it plays out," Dykes told the Monroe News-Star. "It's going to be important to us to start heading into that direction where we have a starting quarterback and feel comfortable about who it is. Hopefully we'll know better by the end of the week."

Dykes said it's possible all three players could get some snaps this week against Texas A&M, which would be one more quarterback than the Aggies are already preparing for. "We're going to have to plan for a two-quarterback system because that's what they showed (against Grambling State)," Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman said Monday. For the record, Louisiana Tech's weekly game notes list all three quarterbacks on the depth chart.

NOTES, QUOTES --WR Tim Molton is back on the team after head coach Sonny Dykes announced after the Grambling State win that the LSU transfer had been reinstated following his suspension for an unspecified team rule violation.

Moulton's pure athleticism and obvious skill in the passing game should help the less-than-stellar offense.

Three other players who were suspended in August along with Moulton -- junior WR R.P. Stuart, senior LB Kiamni Washington and sophomore WR Cruz Williams -- weren't so lucky. All three have been dismissed from the team.

--La. Tech scored a pair of touchdowns in the first 17 minutes of its season-opening game against Grambling State, but the offense sputtered after that in the 20-6 victory. That actually isn't all that uncommon for the past offenses of head coach Sonny Dykes or offensive coordinator Tony Franklin.

At Arizona, Dykes' offense scored just seven points in his first game as coordinator in a loss to BYU in 2007. The Wildcats finished the season as a top-10 passing offense in the nation. At Middle Tennessee State last year, Franklin's offense scored 14 points in the season opener against Clemson before scoring 30 or more points in nine of the team's next 12 games.

SERIES HISTORY: Texas A&M leads Louisiana Tech 9-0 (last meeting, 2006, 45-14 Texas A&M). SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: The offense is one predicated on repetition and timing between the quarterback and the wide receivers. With the team still deciding on one of three players to man the quarterback position, the offense can't settle down, as was evident in the season opener against Grambling State. The wide receivers look pretty solid, though, and some stability at quarterback could lead to big years for any one of four or five receivers, including LSU transfer Tim Molton, who rejoined the team this week after serving a suspension. While the passing game finds its way, RB Lennon Creer is solid carrying the ball but isn't the type of threat defenses will focus their efforts trying to stop.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Bulldogs defense was solid against an obviously outmanned but nonetheless very athletic Grambling State team. The secondary played a very physical press coverage that allowed the defensive line to consistently create pressure in the backfield and contain an athletic running quarterback. That will need to happen again this week against Texas A&M if the Bulldogs hold any hope of staying in the game against their Big 12 foe. DE Matt Broha's two tackles for loss and a forced fumble were nice in the opener, but LB Adrien Cole (eight tackles) is still the heart of the unit.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "This is a process, running this style of offense. You want to roll the ball out there and score 60 points, and it very seldom happens." -- La. Tech head coach Sonny Dykes in the Monroe News-Star.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL THIS WEEK'S GAME: Louisiana Tech at Texas A&M, Sept. 11 -- The Bulldogs have never knocked off the Aggies in the previous nine games in the series, and odds of it happening this week while the offense is still finding its way in a new scheme are slim. The Bulldogs will likely spend much of their effort this week trying to hammer down the QB situation for their Week 3 home opener vs. Navy. KEYS TO THE GAME: It's obvious La. Tech doesn't have a QB who is comfortable running its offense just yet, so apply the pressure and keep it that way. There is no need to take risks on offense and risk turnovers as long as La. Tech is struggling to put up points.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: WR Tim Molton -- It isn't clear how much he'll play since he was only reinstated to the team Monday, but he has the playmaking ability that could ignite the offense, which is something nobody did in last week's game vs. Grambling State.

DE Matt Broha -- A pair of sacks in the opener will be hard to repeat, but consistently getting in the backfield to cause pressure and disrupt the Texas A&M offense before plays develop would be a tremendous help for the rest of the defense. QBs Ross Jenkins/Steven Ensminger/Colby Cameron -- They may all three play this week against Texas A&M, but soon the team will need to settle on one for the rest of the season. Consider this week's game akin to an NFL preseason game in which the outcome may not be as important for La. Tech as getting a good opportunity to evaluate three players battling for the starting job as the season moves forward.

ROSTER REPORT: --WR Tim Molton, an LSU transfer who missed the season opener against Grambling State, was reinstated to the team this week by head coach Sonny Dykes and has been practicing. He is expected to play Saturday against Texas A&M. --QB Steven Ensminger, who was named the team's starter in August only to sit out the season opener after missing some practice with a stomach virus, is expected to be right back in the mix of the team's QB battle this week preparing for a road game at Texas A&M. --Junior WR R.P. Stuart, senior LB Kiamni Washington and sophomore WR Cruz Williams were all dismissed from the team this week due to an unspecified violation of team rules.


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