Returning Starters – Offense: 7 Defense: 5
Preview: Louisiana Tech came out of nowhere last season to go 9-5 overall, including a 7-1 mark in conference play, along with an impressive 35-18 bowl win coming against Illinois. The Bulldogs showed tremendous growth in their second season under head coach Skip Holtz going from 4-8 in 2013 to their 9-5 campaign last season. Louisiana Tech is a favorite to repeat as division champs in CUSA and a bowl berth is likely the floor for this squad.
The Bulldogs lose starting QB Cody Sokol who was outstanding in 2014, but the position could be even better this season with Florida transfer Jeff Driskel taking over. Driskel is a phenomenal athlete and if he could give SEC defenses trouble with his legs, we can only image what he’ll do in CUSA. The O-line should be also with veteran upperclassmen manning all 5 spots along the front. It doesn’t end there for the Bulldogs as they also return all-conference caliber players at the skill positions with RB Kenneth Dixon leading the way coming off a 1,600 yard and 28 TD 2014. WR is also stacked with this unit being headlined by Turner, Taylor, and Henderson.
Last season the defense led the nation in forced turnovers and that should be the moniker of this unit again in 2015. Louisiana Tech returns 3 starters in the secondary who’ll all be in serious contention for all-conference honors. The secondary will be led by safeties Woods and Brice, along with CB Barnes. The defense line should also be steady as the unit builds around veterans Dora and Butler. The position of weakness comes at LB as this unit has little in the way of depth and has to replace all three starters from a season ago.
Prediction: Louisiana Tech finds themselves in great position to repeat as CUSA West champs given the amount of returning talent they have building off of a 9 win season. The Bulldogs have a lot of tough games coming on the road, but they should be able to compete even in their road contests against the likes of Kansas State and Mississippi State. Look for a bowl game for this squad with the outside chance of making it to a January bowl game.
Projected Record: 10-2 (7-1)