Jenkins will have to use this spring to develop a connection with a host of young receivers including Houston Tuminello, R.P. Stuart, Cruz Williams, Richie Casey, and Eric Fiege. One or two receivers will have to step up to add a threat alongside Livas. Jenkins will also need to be able to take advantage of the speed around him and spread the ball across the field. Most importantly, he will have to connect more on the deep passes to spread the defense out for Porter to operate.
The defense will focus on the secondary, specifically the cornerback position. Terry Carter, Josh Victorian, and Darius Terry will join the recently signed Olajuwan Paige in a battle for the starting cornerback positions. A big key in the secondary having success in 2009 will be the ability of the line to put pressure on the quarterback. The Bulldogs had a host of young defensive ends last year and someone will have to emerge as a pass rushing threat.
The 2009 schedule looks to be about as difficult as 2008. A road game against Navy replaces Army on the schedule. SEC trips to Auburn and LSU replace games at Kansas and a home game against Mississippi State. 2008 saw six home games for the first time in years for Louisiana Tech fans. While there will only be five home games in 2009, the schedule is now set up to have six home games for the next several years.
The Army and Navy contracts were signed because the two teams had early openings in the schedule and Tech needed to finalize the 2008 and 2009 schedules. Those deals allowed Derek Dooley and Bruce Van De Velde to look toward schedules as far as six years out. The four game series with Southern Miss and Houston give fans exciting home games and driveable road games.
Louisiana Tech now has six non-conference home games scheduled between 2010 and 2014. With the ability to play a FCS team each year at home, The Bulldogs should be able to play six home games every year for the foreseeable future. With USM coming in 2013 to Ruston, there have been talks of moving the 2013 home game with Army to 2012. While no negotiations with Navy have been revealed, it also stands to reason the 2010 home game with Navy could be pushed back to 2012. Tech also has a home game with USM in 2010. So far the 2012 schedule only has road games set in place. Houston will come to Ruston in 2011 and 2014.
Spring Game – April 11th
Who to watch on offense: Ross Jenkins
Who to watch on defense: Darius Terry
Key position battles on offense: Who will start alongside Livas at receiver? Between Kris Cavitt, Jared Miles, and Cudahy Harmon; who will start on the right side of the offensive line? Will newcomer Jacob Miller or young Kevin Saia make a push for one of those same spots?
Key position battles on defense: Who will replace Weldon Brown and Stephen Howze at cornerback? Who will emerge at defense end out of Kwame Jordan, Randy Grigsby, Eric Harper, Christian Lacey, Matt Broha, and Jared Barron? Can anyone unseat Dominique Faust, Kiamni Washington, and Adrien Cole as the three linebackers?
Breakout star on offense: Cruz Williams and Richie Casey. Both freshmen sat out last year and will use this spring to establish themselves as playmakers.
Breakout star on defense: John White. The junior college transfer will use this spring to display his non-stop motor. The defensive tackle will emerge to give D'Anthony Smith some help inside and challenge Mason Hitt for a starting spot.
While the team lost some big names like Patrick Jackson, Weldon Brown, Quin Harris, and Anthony Harrison; Louisiana Tech returns a lot of young depth and plenty of experience. Coach Dooley should be able to come out of spring football with a good idea of who he can count on to hit the field in 2009.