Auburn Football: Opponent Breakdown – Louisiana Tech

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Sep 6, 2014; Lafayette, LA, USA; Louisiana Tech Bulldogs defensive back Xavier Woods (7) carries the ball toward the end zone beside teammate defensive lineman Vernon Butler (9) after an interception against the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns in the second half at Cajun Field. Louisiana Tech defeated Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns 48-20. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Louisiana Tech Defense


Defensive Coordinator: Manny Diaz

Defensive Style: 4-3, 4-2-5

Defensive Depth Chart – Projected Starters

DE 8 Vontarrius Dora, 6-foot-4, 243 pounds

DT 90 DeAngelo Brooks, 6-foot, 303 pounds, Senior

DT 45 Vernon Butler, 6-foot-3, 321 pounds, Junior

DE 94 Houston Bates, 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, Senior

OLB 32 Mitch Villemez, 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, Senior

MLB 42 Tony Johnson, 6-foot-2, 255 pounds, Senior

OLB/NB 31 Terrell Pinson, 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, Senior

CB 21 Adairius Barnes, 5-foot-11, 183 pounds, Junior

S Kentrell Brice, 5-foot-11, 187 pounds, Junior

S Xavier Woods, 5-foot-11, 194 pounds, Sophomore

CB 13 Le’Vander Liggins, 5-foot-10, 193 pounds, Senior

Based in a four-man front, the Bulldogs play a similar style of defense to Auburn under defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. At times, Louisiana Tech will show 4-2-5 looks, while otherwise they will line up in a familiar 4-3.

Overall, Louisiana Tech has had their hands full on defense this season, though there are bright spots on the unit. The Bulldogs surrendered 48 points in Week 1 to the Oklahoma Sooners, and have failed to hold any opponent under 20 points in 2014. The unit has allowed 141.8 rushing yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry, in addition to 217.5 passing yards per contest.

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  • The most talented player on defense for the Bulldogs is safety Xavier Woods. A sophomore, Woods forced his way into the starting lineup last season ten times as a true freshman. He had 61 tackles in 2013, which ranked fourth on the squad, including three tackles for a loss and he added two pass breakups.

    Already in 2014, Woods has emerged as one of the best defenders in Conference USA. Through four games, Woods has 17 total tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and two interceptions. He returned one of his interceptions 46 yards for a touchdown against Louisiana-Lafayette. Fellow safety Kentrell Brice leads the team with 26 tackles and also recorded an interception.

    The Bulldogs are expected to start at least four transfers on defense, including linebackers Mitch Villemez, Tony Johnson and Terrell Pinson, who are all junior college products. Villemez has 14 tackles this season and Johnson has 18 total tackles through four games, including 1.5 tackles for a loss, half a sack and a forced fumble. Pinson has 11 tackles this far, as well as a forced fumble. He recovered a fumble and returned it 61 yards against North Texas. Fellow linebacker CJ Cleveland, a transfer from Arkansas Tech is second on the team with 23 tackles.

    Defensive end Houston Bates is also transfer, having come to Ruston from Illinois. Bates started 12 games for the Fighting Illini last season in which he amassed 40 tackles, including 8.5 tackles for a loss with 3.5 sacks. The Covington, Louisiana native has fit in well closer to home and has nine tackles, one tackle for a loss and an interception in 2014 for the Bulldogs.