Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Q & A Time with Jimmy Watson
After having great success with Jesse, Dugan and Pete, we decided to look to the Shreveport Times for some insight on this week's opponent, Louisiana Tech. So today we have for you a small Q&A with Jimmy Watson, sports reporter and Louisiana Tech football aficionado. He wrote a nice piece on the heart the Bulldogs showed this past Saturday and if you're so inclined, you can read it here. Anyway, thanks to Jimmy for taking the time to answer our questions. Enjoy.
1. Admittedly, I don't know a whole lot about La. Tech aside from what I've read about the MSU game, but I feel like that was a good win for them, especially after falling behind 14-3. However, they were outgained pretty substantially (322-243), so how would you rate their performance? Was it mostly opportunistic (5 MSU turnovers) or werethey the better team?
"The win over Mississippi State was probably one of the top two or three home wins in Joe Aillet Stadium history. Although MSU wasn't ranked, they had SEC caliber players across the board and were the more talented team overall. However, Tech outplayed them on special teams and were very opportunistic on defense. MSU had a vaunted defensive line, which got pressure, but did not get a sack on Tech's Taylor Bennett."
2. Along those same lines, which unit would you say is the stronger of the two; offense or defense?
"I would say special teams, by far. Next would be defense. The offense got by doing what it had to do."
3. Yardage wise, La Tech was much more successful passing the ball than running it (161-83). However, they weren't all that efficient with either (15/41 passing and 2.5 ypc). Which would you say is their strength and with which do you think they'll try to attack Kansas?
"Coach Dooley is big on a mix, but he will adjust to what is working. MSU was geared to stop the run, so he went with more passing. If Kansas tries to stack the box to shut down the run, Tech has some skill players who can get open against one-on-one coverage against most schools."
[If last week was any indication, it doesn't seem like stopping their offense should be much of an issue.]
4. Talk about some of La Tech's playmakers. It looks like their go-to-guys are Patrick Jackson and Phillip Livas; is this true? Who else do they depend on offensively? Who should we be aware of defensively?
"Phillip Livas is a one-man highlight show. You'll enjoy seeing him play. He had a big game last year against LSU and was a game-changer against MSU last Saturday. P.J. is a guy who can hurt you in a number of ways ... strong runner, good receiver out of the backfield and an excellent kick returner. Shane Womack, Philip Beck and Cruz Williams are a couple of other offensive playmakers who could make a difference."
[If you're curious, these lovely ladies to your right are the Regal Blues, the La Tech dance squad]
5. In terms of the WAC, most everyone is familiar with Boise, Hawaii, Fresno and to an extent, Nevada. How does La Tech figure to fit in this season? How many conference wins should they expect? What about overall; could they be bowl bound?
"Tech was picked fifth in the league, which is probably where they should have been based on last season. I predicted wins over Idaho, New Mexico State, Utah State and San Jose State in my opening column. I also think they'll beat either Nevada or Fresno with both of those at home. The Hawaii game is a toss-up since it's on the island, where everyone has trouble winning. After the MSU opener, I believe Tech can beat any of the WAC schools and should finish at least third."
6. Switching gears, being up North how has Gustav affected the region and/or the team?
"Other than rainy practices and some players from south Louisiana worrying about their families, Gustav didn't reach here."
7. And finally, what will it take for La Tech to beat KU on Saturday? Do you see this happening? Score?
"I don't believe Tech can beat Kansas on the road, but I think the game will be closer than some folks might think. The Bulldogs have a lot of confidence after beating an SEC team, but they're also a little banged up. I see KU winning by something like 34-21."
[The 34 may be accurate, but if KU really let's them score 21, I'll be shocked.]
Again, thanks to Jimmy Watson for shedding some light on the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. We'll be making our official prediction later in the week, but suffice it to say we're thinking the margin will be more than 13.