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Bulldogs prepare for Mean Green

November 5, 2015

 

ALEX HEARD

Staff Reporter | amh072@latech.edu

 

In football, the underdogs can sometimes beat the “big dogs.”

 

The underdog comes into the game with nothing to lose. If they are not bowl-eligible, the team will view beating the favorite as a bowl game of sorts.

Bulldogs wide reciever Carlos Henderson (1) looks up field after a catch against Rice in Houston on Oct. 30. Tech won the game 42-17-Photo Courtesy of LA Tech Athletics Communications

Bulldogs wide reciever Carlos Henderson (1) looks up field after a catch against Rice in Houston on Oct. 30. Tech won the game 42-17-Photo Courtesy of LA Tech Athletics Communications

 

The biggest flaw the “big dogs” have is looking past the weaker teams they play.

 

For Head Coach Skip Holtz and the Louisiana Tech football team, their upcoming game is against an underdog they cannot afford to underestimate in North Texas.

 

North Texas enters the game with a record of 1-7 while Tech comes in at 6-3, recently becoming bowl-eligible with a 42-17 victory last week at Conference-USA opponent Rice. Tech has a 4-1 conference record and cannot afford to lose any more games in order to have a shot at a trip to the C-USA Championship Game for the second year in a row.

North Texas wide reciever Carlos Harris (9) dives into the endzone against Western Kentucky in Denton on Oct. 15. The Mean Green lost the game 55-28-Photo by Rick Yeates / North Texas Athletics

North Texas wide reciever Carlos Harris (9) dives into the endzone against Western Kentucky in Denton on Oct. 15. The Mean Green lost the game 55-28-Photo by Rick Yeates / North Texas Athletics

 

Holtz said despite having one win, North Texas is no team to underestimate as Tech nearly lost to another one win team.

 

“I know everyone from the outside looks at (UNT’s) record at 1-7, but the other 1-7 team in our league, UTSA, is a team that we had to kick a field goal against on the last play of the game,” Holtz said. “(UNT) just beat UTSA. UTSA has one of the better defensive lines in the league, yet North Texas found a way to have two guys rush for over 100 yards.”

 

Last week, Tech lost senior linebacker and team leader Nick Thomason indefinitely to a knee injury. Thomason is tied for the team lead with 11.5 tackles-for-loss.

 

UNT recently made a change at quarterback to a more mobile asset in DaMarcus Smith, who is not afraid to tuck the ball and run in order to keep opposing defenses on their heels.

 

Tech will need a replacement for Thomason to help corral Smith.

 

Holtz said UNT’s offense has been impressive in recent games and is nothing to take lightly.

 

“On offense, they had not scored 30 all year and then in two of the last three games, they have scored 28 and 30. They are getting better,” Holtz said. “They made some changes to the offense, including quarterback. They have a very athletic quarterback. He is the most athletic quarterback we have played to date. He has played in three games and rushed for over 100 yards in two of the three games. He is a really dynamic football player with the ball under his arm.”

 

Holtz said Tech might have to use a linebackers-by-committee format.

 

“We have one less than we had coming in. I do not know yet who will start,” Holtz said. “We are going to have to move the pawns around a little bit. We will have to put the pieces together and find the best combination. You have the guys who have played a backup role.  With (Michael) Mims out and Nick Thomason out for right now, we do not know who will start. Brandon Durman will be in the race, as well as Russell Farris and (Dae’von) Washington. There will be a number of guys.”

 

Jeff Driskel, senior quarterback for Tech, said UNT’s defense is a multiple set, as they complicate their schemes to disrupt opposing offenses, and will not be an easy opponent.

 

“One thing I have noticed is that they are doing more things on defense,” Driskel said. “They were more four-down and quarter based. You know where they are going to be. Now they are getting into some three-down fronts and moving guys around. They are trying to give the offense more looks and try to confuse the quarterback. They are coming off a win against a good UTSA team. We have a big challenge ahead of us. We know that we cannot overlook anyone because anybody can beat anybody on any given day.”

 

Tech plays North Texas at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Joe Aillet Stadium.

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