Driskel joins Bulldogs from Florida
Linebackers continue to grow depth
Fitte, Thomason emerging as leaders of linebackers
Second practice set for 7 p.m. Tuesday
Tailgating begins at 11 a.m., Kickoff at 1 p.m.
In January 2015, Blake Baker was promoted to defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for Louisiana Tech after joining the LA Tech family the previous year as the safeties coach.
Baker took over the defensive responsibilities following former coordinator Manny Diaz’s departed for the same position at Mississippi State in January.
In his first season with the Bulldogs, Baker helped lead LA Tech to a 35-18 victory over Illinois in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl and a Conference USA West Division title with a 9-5 overall record in 2014. The Bulldog defense led the nation in 2014 with 26 interceptions and 42 turnovers gained under Baker’s guidance.
Baker came to LA Tech after spending one month at Boise State in a non-coaching role and after helping guide Arkansas State to a Sun Belt Conference co-championship and a GoDaddy Bowl win over Ball State in 2013. He coached a squad that was ranked third in the Sun Belt in scoring defense (26.2 points per game) and third in pass defense (232.9 yards per game). He coached All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team honoree Sterling Young who registered 80 tackles, two interceptions, two pass break-ups and three fumbles recovered on the season.
"I am very excited to have Blake Baker join our staff," Holtz said. "Blake will be a great fit with our staff and University, having worked with [defensive coordinator] Manny Diaz before and having a strong familiarity with the state of Louisiana. He is a tireless worker, whether it is coaching kids on the field to success or recruiting kids to the program. He will be a great asset to our coaching staff and the LA Tech family."
Baker went to A-State after spending 2010 through 2012 as a defensive graduate assistant coach at the University of Texas. He worked closely with the both the Longhorns' linebackers and defensive backs, two position groups that included eight All-Big 12 selections over the last two years. He also helped coach All-American linebacker and Lott Trophy finalist Emmanuel Acho and cornerback Quandre Diggs, the 2011 Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year.
He was a part of the Texas coaching staff in 2011 that led the Longhorns to a No. 11 national ranking in total defense, yielding just 306.8 yards per game. The 2011 Longhorns' defense also ranked among the top 20 teams in the nation in rush defense (96.2 ypg), pass efficiency defense (111.0) and tackles for loss (7.4 pg).
Texas won 17 games in Baker's two years on the coaching staff, including a 21-10 victory over California in the 2011 Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl and a 31-27 win against Oregon State in the 2012 Valero Alamo Bowl. Baker not only worked with Harsin the last two years at Texas, but also with current Longhorns head coach Mack Brown and Florida head coach Will Muschamp during his tenure at the school.
Prior to joining the Texas staff, Baker spent the 2009 season as a wide receivers coach at Clear Springs High School in Houston, Texas, before taking over duties as linebackers coach the following spring.
The Houston native was a four-year letterman and three-year starter at Tulane from 2000-04, helping lead the Green Wave to a win in the 2002 Hawaii Bowl. He earned his bachelor's degree from Tulane in 2008.
Baker is married to the former Roslyn Jones of Mandeville, La., and the couple has one daughter.