LaTech senior quarterback Zac Champion threw more interceptions (18) than touchdown passes (14) last year.
Dooley in control at Louisiana Tech
Derek Dooley said he wants Louisiana Tech to go back to basics.
Problem is, what does that really mean for a program where they've always loved throwing the ball, going back to the days of Terry Bradshaw?
Dooley, the Bulldogs new coach, said he was mystified when fans told him LaTech needs to beef up its offense.
"Is everyone dyslexic in Ruston or am I missing something?" Dooley asked rhetorically at WAC Media Day. "We need to work at improving the defense.
More than ever we have to put emphasis on fundamentals. Playing with scheme discipline, playing with toughness and effort.
"You go out there and play with those intangibles for 60 minutes and you won't have that year we did last year."
Dooley's first task is to ensure the Bulldogs don't repeat the 3-10 debacle of 2006. He plans to do so by ball control on offense.
"It's probably our biggest challenge, convincing the team this is the way to win," said Dooley, the son of Georgia coaching legend Vince Dooley. "Running the ball is important to me. It helps your defense develop toughness. That's my philosophy."
In the next breath, however, Dooley sounds like Steve Spurrier.
"But if I've got guys who can catch it, we'll spread 'em out and sling 'em around," he said.
LaTech looks more suited for the former strategy with junior running back Patrick Jackson the centerpiece of the offense.
Jackson (5-10, 193) is one of the WAC's most underrated players. Last year, he carried 170 times for 854 yards and seven touchdowns and also returned kicks.
"We feel good about our running back situation. Patrick Jackson is a leader and he plays with effort," Dooley said.
The new coach wants senior quarterback Zac Champion (6-2, 202) to play within himself. His TDs to interceptions were 14 to 18 last year, and he was picked three times in a recent scrimmage.
"Probably the biggest challenge for Zac is to not make two or three critical mistakes (per game). It's OK to punt the football," Dooley said. "Last year when we got behind he probably felt he had to force the issue. He's not that type of quarterback."
The former LSU and Miami Dolphins assistant has 16 other returning starters to work with, including 10 on defense. Of course its the same crew that was plowed over for 483 yards per game.
He's also got the backing of the entire town, from the top down.
"Ruston kind of reminds me of my childhood (in Athens, Ga.). I'm kind of a small-town guy and enjoy the simplicity of life. The mayor delivered my trash can. I didn't even know who the mayor was in Fort Lauderdale. There are some good things about small-town living."
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
2006 results (3-10)
|at Texas A&M
|at Boise State
|at San Jose State
|at North Texas
|at New Mexico State
||at N. Arizona
||at Fresno State
||New Mexico State
||at Utah State
||at Louisiana State
||San Jose State