K Josh Scobee

2002 Statistics

Coach: Jack Bicknell
22-25, 4 years
2002 Record: 4-8
at Clemson LOST 13-33
at Penn State LOST 17-49
at Texas A&M LOST 3-31
at Rice LOST 20-37
at SMU LOST 34-37
at San Jose State LOST 30-42
at Boise State LOST 10-36
UTEP WON 38-24

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

Other than LSU, of course, something about Louisiana football schools screams "Payday!" There's Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana Tech, all of whom pepper their respective non-league schedules with difficult opponents. Those games are usually played on the road, where the generous hosts often pony up a nice check to the Louisiana du jour.

The Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech are no different. In addition to a tough slate of games in the Western Athletic Conference (that includes a trip to preseason favorite Fresno State and a game against defending champ Boise State), La Tech goes to Michigan State, to LSU and opens the season against Miami (Fla.) in Shreveport instead of Ruston. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how'd you like the play?

Yet in reality, the non-conference games don't mean a thing. What is most important is whether Bulldogs QB Luke McCown can shake off any 'Junior Jinx' and return to his 2001 form, in which he led La Tech to the WAC championship and a berth in the Humanitarian Bowl against Clemson. If he does, this is a program that contends again.

If he doesn't, if McCown throws 19 interceptions to match his 19 touchdown passes like he did in last year's 4-8 campaign, it's going to be a long season. McCown enters '03 as the country's leader in career passing yardage, but he needs to make better decisions regardless of his productivity otherwise.

That's especially true with a revamped offensive line that, at least early in the season, will afford McCown little time in the pocket. Good thing he has some scrambling ability. Still, in the wide-open offense run by fourth-year head coach Jack Bicknell, the Bulldogs will score some points. Even with McCown's problems, La Tech put at least 30 points on the board in half its games.

Defensively, however, Tech also gave up 30 or more points in a whopping 10 of 12 games and more than 440 yards of offense per tilt. Ouch! Only five starters return from that defense, three in the secondary. But second-year defensive coordinator Rick Smith is optimistic that a couple of junior college signees will bolster the line and a rebuilt linebacking corps will help stuff the run.

Assuming McCown is over his troubles, the defense is then put on the spot. Opposing teams found it rather easy to throw against the Bulldogs. To be fair, though, the secondary wasn't exactly helped by a strong defensive line.

It all adds up to having too many problems at once to address. Just finishing .500 would be a nice achievement for Louisiana Tech.

Projected 2003 record: 6-6
QB - 4 DL - 2
RB - 1 LB - 1.5
WR - 3.5 DB - 2.5
OL - 1.5 ..

Passing: Luke McCown, 505-296-19, 3539 yds., 19 TD

Rushing: Ralph Davis, 11 att., 54 yds., 0 TD

Receiving: Chris Norwood, 61 rec., 748 yds., 4 TD

Scoring: Josh Scobee, 16-21 FG, 30-35 PAT, 78 pts.

Punting: Dustin Upton, 64 punts, 37.6 avg.

Kicking: Josh Scobee, 16-21 FG, 30-35 PAT, 78 pts.

Tackles: Michael Johnson, 113 tot., 66 solo

Sacks: Chris Van Hoy, Jeremy Hamilton, Travon Brown, Wendell Crowe - 1 sack each

Interceptions: Corey Brazil, 1 for 49 yds.

Kickoff returns: Erick Franklin, 40 ret., 22.2 avg.

Punt returns: Corey Brazil, 36 ret., 7.9 avg.


WR Chris Norwood
OFFENSE: Joe Smith-RB, Major Richmond-TE, Tywoin Breaux-OT, Ahmad Harris-WR
DEFENSE: Willie Sheppard-CB, Curtis Randall-WLB, Adam McConathy-MLB, Chris Marshall-SLB, Quincy Myles-DT, Brandon Avance-DE

written by Rich Thomaselli

The skill position players are among the best in the conference. More about that later - any deficiencies in this offense start with the line.

RT Michael Gilmore, a 310-pounder with quick feet, and LG Aaron Lips are the two returning starters. The line is a bit unsettled at this time due to the injury to center Marcus Stewart, who suffered a broken leg in spring practice. That has meant double duty for Lips, who is flip-flopping back and forth between guard and center until La Tech gets a handle on who will step in for Stewart in case he isn't 100% by September.

Interestingly enough, while there might not be much experience on the line (three sophs and a redshirt freshman are among the top eight in the rotation) the coaches believe there is some depth here. Marcus Lindsay, the redshirt frosh, is a 6-7, 365-pound behemoth who will get a serious look at one of the tackle positions. Adrian Gonzalez and Clarence Casey should round out the starting five. This is a line that last year did a pretty good job of protecting McCown and opening holes for the graduated RB Joe Smith. Graduation and the injury to Stewart have wreaked havoc with the line. These hogs need to gel before the Bulldogs hit the heart of the WAC schedule.

Also of concern is the running back position, although the angst is not nearly as great as it is with the O-Line. La Tech lost TB Smith, which was a great option in order to open up and stretch the field in the one-back, four-receiver set. The hope is that Ralph Davis, a senior with the same build and style as Davis, can step right in. Coaches were pleased with his progress in the spring, and were also pleased with backups Ryan Moats and Danny Wilson. All three players have good hands out of the backfield, especially Wilson, a converted flanker. This is where Wilson will get the bulk of his playing time because of the overload of receivers.

WRs Chris Norwood and D.J. Curry combined for 118 receptions last year. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The depth here is amazing. Erick Franklin caught 28 balls and Tramissian Davis averaged 20.1 yards a catch in a limited role. Tight end Aaron Capps has a nice, big NFL body and should catch more than his 2002 total of 14. Freddie King and Julian Cosby round out the main rotation. Their mix of receivers will also keep opposing defenses off balance, what with a tremendous mix of big guys, smurfs, great speed and soft hands. This is not a problem area.

Quarterback is not a problem area either, but after McCown's 2002 performance there are concerns. Quite frankly, coaches are wondering how someone with ample playing time as both a freshman and sophomore, along with an experienced line could end up throwing 19 INTs as a junior. They're also hoping it was an anomaly. McCown is a good-sized kid at 6-4, 200, and has good mobility in the pocket. He'll need to make far better reads this year than he did a season ago, and he'll also have to resist the temptation to throw into coverage. Too much push makes stats bigger but keeps win columns small.


QB Luke McCown


Returning Starters in bold
QB Luke McCown-Sr Maxie Causey-Sr
RB Ralph Davis-Sr Ryan Moats-So
WR Tramissian Davis-Jr Shawn Piper-Jr
WR Chris Norwood-Sr Alton Bryant-So
WR D.J. Curry-Sr Freddie King-So
WR Erick Franklin-Sr Julius Cosby-Jr
OT Clarence Casey-Sr Lester Brown-Jr
OG Aaron Lips-So Jordan Lang-Jr
C Marcus Stewart-So Cameron Glenn-Jr
OG Adrian Gonzalez-Jr Ira Horyna-Jr
OT Michael Gilmore-Sr Marcus Lindsey-Fr
K Josh Scobee-Sr ..



written by Rich Thomaselli

The numbers tell the story. In 12 games, Louisiana Tech gave up 426 points, 270 first downs, 176 run yards per game, 30 rushing TDs, 24 through the air, and 237 points in the second half.

But the most important numbers may be these - three and five.

Of the Bulldogs' personnel that achieved a paltry 20 sacks, only two starters are back. And the five represents the total number of interceptions La Tech recorded in 2002.

Guess where the focus will be in the 4-3 defense this year? Right, on the linebackers. All three starters are gone, leaving openings for seniors Jonte Price and Antonio Crow to man the outside while junior John Nash will start inside. The coaches are particularly happy with Nash, who returned from a knee injury to have a good spring. The hope is that Nash will become the focal point of a defense that needs to stop the run.

Up front, DE Booker T. Washington and DT Chris Van Hoy anchor the left side of the line. Both are strong players, but Van Hoy will be making the move from RT and might need some time to adjust. Lacorey Street will be at the other tackle, although he'll be pushed by backups Ladarius Love and Jermelle Cage. DE Travon Brown is slated to start opposite Washington, but he's a bit undersized at 251 pounds and will have to use speed and savvy to get to the quarterback. In fact, that's the catch phrase for the Bulldogs - get to the quarterback. This is a big, strong line that should be able to dominate, or at least hold their own, in most games. Now they just have to play like it.

As for the secondary, part of the problem in making picks was that the line didn't put a whole heck of a lot of pressure on the passer. Hopefully that changes now because this is a good defensive backfield. Safeties Lee Johnson and Michael Johnson are back, as is CB Corey Brazil. Brazil is the team's best cover corner, and Michael Johnson led the Bulldogs in tackles. But both - actually, the entire secondary - need to do more when the ball leaves the quarterback's hands.


CB Corey Brazil


Returning Starters in bold
DE Booker T. Washington-Sr James Atkins-Jr
DT Chris Van Hoy-Jr Johnny Jackson-Jr
DT Lacorey Street-Sr Ladarius Love-So
DE Travon Brown-Jr Eddie Moss-Jr
SLB Antonio Crow-Sr Byron Santiago-So
MLB John Nash-Jr Gregory Hollins-Fr
WLB Jeremy Hamilton-So Jonte Price-Sr
CB Kevin Brown-Sr Hiram Eugene-Jr
CB Corey Brazil-Sr Delone Williams-So
SS Lee Johnson-Jr Gavin Cato-Sr
FS Michael Johnson-Sr Orlandus Williams-Sr
P Dustin Upton-Sr ..




There are few worries here. In fact, if not for UTEP, the Bulldogs would probably have the best special teams unit in the WAC. Placekicker Josh Scobee, a senior, is one of the nation's best. Scobee is a two-time Lou Groza Award candidate who has made 45-of-61 career FGAs in three seasons. He needs 93 points during the 2003 campaign to pass Troy Edwards as the Bulldogs all-time scoring leader. Punter Duston Upton averaged better than 37 yards a kick and has great accuracy in dropping kicks inside the 20. The return game could use a bit of a jolt - kick returns averaged 21.4 yards and punts just 8.4 - but that's a quibble when you consider this unit is probably the best on La Tech's team.