Many thanks go to Jimmy Watson of the Shreveport Times, who took the time to answer some of my questions regarding the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. For further information extracted from Mr. Watson, make sure and check out KJ-IBT's interview with him.
With that said, here are the questions and answers:
RCT: Just how big was Saturday's win over Mississippi State? And, on a similar not, was it really an "upset"?
JW: First time for an SEC team to play in Ruston, so the win was probably Tech’s significant non-conference home victory in school history. Was it an upset? Tech was an 8-point dog playing a team with at least three times its athletic budget and with the recruiting advantages of playing in the SEC. If it wasn’t an upset, I don’t know what it was.
RCT: How has Taylor Bennett fit in with Derek Dooley's system? Has it been a positive move all-around, for him to come to LaTech, or do you think it would have been better had Dooley stuck with incumbent QBs like Steve Ensminger?
JW: Tech needed experience at quarterback to have success this season. Ross Jenkins and Steve Ensminger don’t have the on-the-field experience of Bennett, who started all of last season at Georgia Tech, beating Notre Dame and Miami. He’s a smart guy, who picked up the offense quickly. I’d have been shocked if he wasn’t the choice to start. He understands what Dooley likes – a guy to control the offense and take care of the ball … and get the ball to the playmakers.
RCT: What is the biggest strength on this LaTech football team? And the biggest weakness?
JW: After the first game, I’d say the entire special teams unit, especially in punting, kick coverage and field goal execution. Dooley is a former special teams coach at LSU and puts a lot of emphasis on that as a game-changing unit. Offensive line didn’t give up a sack, defensive secondary picked off three passes, so they are also strengths. The only weakness I saw was wide receivers getting open and holding onto the ball.
RCT: How has Hurricane Gustav affected the team? Is Ruston north enough to stave off much of the effects?
JW: Gustav got Ruston wet, making practice more difficult, and some of the players had family members living in the more affected areas, which may have been a distraction. Other than that, it had little effect.
RCT: Were LaTech to beat Kansas, it would be because of:
JW: Confidence carried over from beating an SEC team and winning the turnover battle.
RCT: What do you think is the best this team can be this season? A bowl game?
JW: Tech is capable of winning the WAC and should at least finish in the top three, earning a bowl berth. That assumes some critical front line players stay healthy. The Bulldogs aren’t deep at a number of positions, so injuries could be a major factor down the line.
And, just for a little fun question to close out the interview:
RCT: And finally, what is the best part of your job?
JW: Getting in free to games. Getting to talk to coaches and players who might not otherwise give me the time of day. Getting an e-mail from someone telling me they appreciated something I wrote … that it affected them in a positive way. Getting to do an investigative piece to get the juices flowing. Getting up everyday and looking forward to going to work.
Again, many thanks go out to Jimmy for answering our questions. If you want to read more Watson, check out the Shreveport Times.
Offensive and Defensive Previews upcoming...