Louisiana Tech football: What's on Bulldogs' spring practice to-do list?

Cory Diaz
Monroe News-Star

Louisiana Tech ended the 2020 season at 5-5, the first time it failed to close a campaign above .500 since Skip Holtz’s first year in 2013.

Plenty of inconsistencies hurt the Bulldogs last season that ultimately led to their final record. The hit-and-miss year was punctuated by a 38-3 thrashing defeat from Georgia Southern in the New Orleans Bowl, which snapped the nation’s longest active bowl-game winning streak at six.

The first positive for the 2021 Tech team will be it going through spring practice, something last season’s team did not get as COVID-19 shut it down. The Bulldogs start spring drills Friday and will hold their spring game April 24.

Dec 12, 2020; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs running back Emari Demercado (3) is tackled by Louisiana Tech Bulldogs linebacker Levi Bell (55) and defensive lineman Tristan Allen (43) during the second half at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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With 15 team sessions to improve, let’s take a look at what’s on Louisiana Tech’s to-do list this spring:

Linemen development

Holtz said the addition of new offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo was the perfect hire. “Guge,” as he’s called, comes to Ruston with more than 15 years of experience coaching the position in the NFL. Tech lost its all-conference center and two starting tackles to the transfer portal. Another left for the NFL Draft.

Joshua Mote and Abraham Delfin are back, but it’s too early to say where they’ll line up as they both have experience at multiple positions. Dakota White impressed as a freshman in 2020. Guge will want to find his 10 best linemen to create depth at each spot. Guys like Biron Rossell, Walker Hankinson, Christian Henderson, Ray Kelly, as well as new signee Demarcus Gordon will all get heavy looks on OL.

Full-time QB

Identifying who Louisiana Tech’s full-time starting quarterback is high on the spring to-do list. Luke Anthony and Aaron Allen split snaps at quarterback last season. Both showed flashes but it appeared Anthony was the more consistent option before breaking his ankle at TCU in December. Allen started the bowl game and did not look good.

Holtz said Anthony will likely be healthy enough to at least be a limited participant in spring practice. But will he be to practice enough to allow for Holtz to find his full-time quarterback?

Rush pressure

Creating an effective pass rush will be paramount for Tech’s defense entering the 2021 season. Milton Williams, who decided to leave early for the NFL Draft, takes 10 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks with him. The defensive line corps was already young outside of Williams last season.

D-line coach Anthony Camp and defensive coordinator David Blackwell hope the experience Keivie Rose, Mykol Clark and Deshon Hall – among a few others – earned last year proves as valuable as it looks on paper. The group now without Williams will have to step up and provide reliable, consistent pressure.

Run game explosion

Louisiana Tech’s offense missed long runs from running backs in 2020. The longest run from scrimmage last season was 34 yards.

The threat of the big run play will be hunted for this spring. Tech went out and added Appalachian State senior transfer Marcus Williams Jr., who will be available to go through spring drills. Can he be the home-run hitter the Bulldogs need? What about Harlon Dixon or Greg Garner?