With Texas A&M looming, there's not much time to work out the kinks. The running game looked great at times with Lennon Creer and Ray Holley eating up chunkc of yards at a time. Ross Jenkins was very efficient and able to spread the ball around to not only his receivers, but also to the backs out of the backfield. Myke Compton was able to get the crucial short yards for two early touchdowns.
Against the Aggies, Louisiana Tech will have to be more effective in the red zone. The offense will need big plays and the special teams unit will have to provide a spark. The passing game could get an added boost in the passing game.
Louisiana Tech Head Coach Sonny Dykes announced that Tim Molton has been reinstated and will resume team activities Monday. Molton will attend meetings and participate in practice beginning Monday but Dykes has not said definitively if he will be available to play at Texas A&M Saturday.
Ross Jenkins was 15-19 for 101 yards. While he did not turn the ball over, he will have to avoid the costly sacks that stall drives. The Tech quarterbacks have to look down the field to open up the offense. Colby Cameron was able to complete 8 of 12 passes for 95 yards. Cameron's yards per completion was just over five yards higher than Jenkins.
Texas A&M finished 6-7 last season. Their only big win came in a 52-30 pounding of Texas Tech in Lubbock. The Aggies did start the season in impressive fashion beating UAB, New Mexico, and Utah St. by a combined 135-55. 30 of those 55 points given up were to Utah State in a 38-30 Aggie victory. Utah State was able to keep it close by controlling the time of possession, limiting their penalties, and putting up 521 yards of offense. They played Texas A&M within 8 points despite giving up 573 yards, losing 2 fumbles, and allowing Aggie quarterback Jerrod Johnson to pass for 322 yards and 4 touchdowns.
In this season's opening game, Texas A&M rolled up 539 yards and controlled the clock for over 37 minutes in a 48-7 win over Stephen F. Austin. Johnson threw for 278 yards and 2 touchdowns while Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray combined for 166 yards rushing on 38 carries. Michael, a 215 pound sophomore back out of Beaumont had 4.8 yards per carry and two touchdowns. As a freshman, Michael ran for 844 yards and 10 touchdowns on 5.1 yards per carry.
Louisiana Tech will have the challenge of stopping Michael and Gray while containing Johnson and the Aggies strong passing attack. The Bulldogs gave up 81 yards on 18 carries to Frank Warren on Saturday. Grambling was able to put up 260 yards of offense and control the clock for over 32 minutes. However, Louisiana Tech held the Tigers to just a pair of Field Goals. That bend but don't break offense can work against Texas A&M, but the Louisiana Tech offense is going to have to produce more in order to keep pace with the Aggies.
Texas A&M averaged 44 points in their last seven wins dating back to last season. In their 7 losses in 2009, they scored just under 24 points per game. Those losses include a couple of suprising setbacks to Kansas State (62-14) and Colorado (35-34).
Texas A&M will give up points. Coach Dykes talked about taking advantage of those opportunities. "I thought we did some good things," Dykes said. "We had three or four missed opportunities where we thought we had a call that could get us a touchdown and we didn't get the play off. In college football you are going to have only a few opportunities to catch them (your opponent) exactly when you want to catch them. We've got to take advantage of some of those plays. It was a sloppy first game. We'd hoped to be a lot sharper."
The tools all seem to be in place. A little more consistency and a few more big plays and the offense would have looked completely different. This week should provide a good test of what this offense is capable of against good competition. The Bulldogs and their fans can't wait to get out there and see what happens. It will be a long week of waiting, but Coach Dykes will take every minute he can get to fine tune this offense. For Tech fans, it should be worth the wait.