Cumbie upbeat about second season in charge of Bulldog football program

BULLDOG BUZZ:  Louisiana Tech football coach Sonny Cumbie (right) was interviewed by Malcolm Butler and fielded questions from fans Tuesday night at the Bulldog Blitz gathering in Shreveport. (Photo by JERRY BYRD, Journal Sports)

By JERRY BYRD, Journal Sports

Louisiana Tech head football coach Sonny Cumbie has come up with plenty of answers against defensive blitz packages while earning a reputation as an offensive mastermind.

Tuesday evening, he also produced plenty of answers against a more friendly Blitz.

Cumbie was joined by Tech Athletic Director Dr. Eric Woods and other head coaches visited with supporters Tuesday evening at Shreveport’s Cantina Laredo for the athletic department’s local Bulldog Blitz event, a series that will stretch around the state and into Texas this month.

Cumbie, who looks to improve on Tech’s 3-9 overall mark and 2-6 record in Conference USA in his first season at the helm, was one of several head coaches to speak to Tech supporters. Many of the fans questioned Cumbie about Boise State transfer quarterback Hank Bachmeier, who is fresh off of his first 15-day spring practice with the Bulldogs. 

“Hank is very accurate with the football,” Cumbie said. “Hank gets the ball out quickly. He puts it where it needs to be. He is very, very smart with the ball. That’s what I saw this spring. I think he can throw the ball on the vertical route really well. He gets it out of his hand quickly.”

Cumbie has been just as impressed with the way Bachmeier has handled himself off the field.

“I think it was impressive – a kid who started 29 games – he has a very humble spirit and demeanor about him,” Cumbie said.

“He wants to learn,” Cumbie said. “He is eager to learn. He is coachable. He is very coachable, so from that standpoint when you’ve got an older player –sometimes guys are set in their ways a little bit. He has come in with a very open mind to our offense and to our coaching. He has done a really good job from that standpoint. He has been a lot of fun to coach.”

Bachmeier is one of 19 new additions on the roster, 12 of those on the defensive side of the ball. Cumbie and his coaching staff identified one on the first day of spring practice that his coaches fell in love with, a player they believe the Tech faithful will enjoy as well when the season starts Aug. 26 against FIU at Joe Aillet Stadium.

“Demarcus Griffin-Taylor, No. 8 for us, when you look at him, he is a little short guy. He is fiery. He is feisty. He is all over the field. From the day we had our first practice in spring, he was a great communicator. He is a player that we as a coaching staff love and believe our fans will as well.” 

Griffin-Taylor came to Tech via the transfer portal from Houston, where the 5-9, 175-pound defensive back played in all 13 games last season for the Cougars, totaling 16 tackles – 12 of which were solo stops.

What are Cumbie’s thoughts on the portal?

“The portal giveth and portal taketh away,” Cumbie said. 

While not mentioning names, Cumbie was referring to former Tech linebacker Tyler Grubbs, who transferred to Tulane University in late December.

“I think we will see it this fall, we’ve improved our defense tremendously in terms of volume,” Cumbie said. “Obviously, we lost a couple of difference-makers. It’s disappointing they left, but at the same time the next player (is up, and) we’ve got to get them ready and develop and we’re excited about the players on the team at Louisiana Tech.”

With the Week Zero game, the first 10 days of summer have been a blur for the players and coaches. 

“A lot of the kids did a great job in the classroom so really they’re just able to focus on football right now,” Cumbie said. “Some of them are in classes, but we are working out every day. There are multiple things going on in terms of meetings. Player-ran practices and player-ran meetings. It’s a great time of summer. It goes by really fast. In the mix of working out with our players, we have camps. We also have events like this that it’s great to be at. So, it’s going to be a fast summer.” 

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