Associate Head Coach Matt Moore announced in December that he was moving on to Troy to accept a position on Neal Brown's new staff at Troy. Moore coach offensive line at Tech and will add the title of co-offensive coordinator at Troy.Holtz reaches in to his Notre Dame network of coaches to replace Moore.
Offensive Line Coach Robert McFarland joins the staff after spending three years at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Like Holtz, McFarland spent time as a graduate assistant before becoming offensive line coach at Stephen F. Austin, Central Florida, East Carolina, and Iowa State. McFarland also served as Head Coach at Stephen F. Austin in 2005 and 2006.
With one veteran coach on the way in, Holtz must also replace a veteran coach who moved out this week. Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz took the same position at Mississippi State. Louisiana Tech led the nation in turnovers in 2014 and Tech fans certainly want the aggressive mentality that Diaz brought with him to remain in Ruston.
There are numerous FCS defensive coordinators capable of moving up. Position coaches at the P5 level typically make more than the $180k that Diaz made at LA Tech so that move would be unlikely. Two possibilities seem obvious if Holtz wants to keep a Diaz style defense.
Steve Ellis is co-defensive coordinator at MTSU. Holtz hired Moore away from his friend Rick Stockstill at MTSU, so a similar move would not be unprecedented. Ellis is familiar with Louisiana after coaching at Nichols State and he worked under Diaz at MTSU. Another option is to promote Oscar Giles and Blake Baker to co-defensive coordinators. Both coached under Diaz at Texas and Louisiana Tech and they would be able to continue the momentum the staff has built up both on the field and in recruiting.
Former Florida Quarterback Jeff Driskel announced that he will enroll at Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs are looking to repeat as western division champs in Conference USA and Holtz felt like he needed more experience at quarterback. Driskel along with running back Kenneth Dixon give the Bulldogs a potentially punishing rushing attack.
With signing day less than four weeks away, it is imperative that Holtz gets his staff together quickly. The Driskel news helps, but a defensive coordinator in place would be even more important. So far, fifteen of Tech's commitments are on the defensive side of the ball.
Another key piece of news is the home schedule for 2015. Home games against regional rivals including Southern Miss highlight a six game home portion of the schedule. North Texas, ULL, and Southern could also bring in a good number of fans. Charlotte and Old Dominion round out the list, making the schedule pretty appealing to Tech fans. The Bulldogs should be able to win a majority of those games and put themselves in position to once again win a western division title.