Miner Rush: Is this game the true definition of a get right game for LA Tech after a tough slated schedule to start the season?
Jonathan Ford: I think so. They were one of just a few teams in the country to start on the road 3 of the first 4 weeks. That's tough to do for anyone in college football. Auburn, for example, played will play all five of it's first five games at home. Overall Louisiana Tech is where many thought they would be through 4 weeks but the fan base feels teased that they played so well at Arkansas then the defense was so dreadful against Texas Tech and then how poorly the team played in the second half against MTSU.
Has quarterback Ryan Higgins turned that consistency corner in leading the offense?
He seems to have turned that corner. The fan base is still cautiously optimistic. There are still moments in a game where he puts the ball in danger but still hasn't had a turnover since the first half of the South Carolina State game. If he plays within the system he will move the football. That much has been seen. Tech is so multiple he has lots of weapons to find and use.
With the loss of Kenneth Dixon, tell us who has stepped up or stepped in at running back?
Jarred Craft was Kenneth Dixon's backup for two years and has really done a nice job. There are lots of cliches that could be used, "taken the bull by the horns" or "taken the ball and run with it" come to mind, and who doesn't like cliches? Craft is a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield and is one of those backs who always seems to fall forward. He's found, what I like to call, a bag of tricks and it could very well be from watching the best running back to ever suit up for Louisiana Tech for two years, Kenneth Dixon.
What should UTEP be more worried about defensively, Trent Taylor running underneath/short routes, or Carlos Henderson vertically?
From talking with you on your podcast and on BleedTechBlue Radio about UTEP's 3-4 and how successful it's been at stopping spread teams through the air, it would not surprise me to see Tech try to setup the pass with the run. Craft is very capable and Boston Scott appears to be back to his old self after a couple of injuries slowed him down in Fall Camp. Tech has also utilized an old school power football formation with 3 running backs in the backfield this year that has been wildly successful outside of a fumble against MTSU by redshirt freshman Bobby Holly.
Defensively, LA Tech has a bunch of new parts, who are you looking at to take a step forward against a sputtering UTEP offense?
At linebacker, Jordan Harris and Russell Farris are playing very well on the outside. Dalton Santos is likely not pleased with his play thus far and may look to use this game himself as a "get right game." At DB, Xavier Woods is always someone offenses have to account for at safety. CB Prince Sam played very well against Arkansas but has played real well lately. The other corner spot has been a bit of musical chairs. We've seen Roland Dunn, Ronald Lewis, Cyril Noland-Lewis and Ephraim Kitchen.
Score and one stat prediction?
Louisiana Tech 42, UTEP 10. Jarred Craft rushes for 150, Trent Taylor goes over the century mark again.
Big thanks to Jonathan for answering our questions, check out www.bleedtechblue.com for more LA Tech news and notes.