LA Tech defense stellar in victory over Idaho
Louisiana Tech vs. Idaho
Next practice is Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Scrimmage set for Thursday at Joe Aillet Stadium
Rufus Porter leads defense with eight tackles
Photos from the Louisiana Tech vs. Idaho football game.
Photos from Louisiana Tech's first full pads practice during fall camp.
Photos from the fourth practice of fall camp.
Photos from the second practice of fall camp.
Photos from the first practice of fall camp
Tommy Spangler enters his sixth season as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Louisiana Tech and his reputation as one of the college football world's top defensive minds has only grown over the last few years with the Bulldogs.
During that time, Spangler has taken a Bulldog defense that ranked dead last in the country (among FBS programs) in scoring defense, rushing defense and total defense prior to his arrival and coached them into one of the top defensive units in the Western Athletic Conference.
His energy and passion for the game and defensive philosophy are the reasons why former Louisiana Tech head coach Derek Dooley hired the veteran coach as the Bulldogs defensive coordinator and why, upon Sonny Dykes' arrival there was no better defensive coordinator to be found.
That top defensive unit in the WAC set a new standard during the 2011 season, holding 12 of 13 opponents to fewer rushing yards against the Bulldogs than what they averaged on the year and ranking third in the nation in interceptions and pick-sixes despite facing eight senior quarterbacks in its first nine games of the year.
He guided a defense that had six All-WAC selections for the 2011 season and a group that scored six defensive touchdowns, the best scoring defense Tech has seen in two decades. The Bulldog defense ended the year ranked 13th in the nation in turnover margin and had a +15 turnover margin during the team's seven-game winning streak.
Spangler's safeties accounted for five of the team's interceptions with Chad Boyd leading the way with four picks returned for 75 yards during the 2010 season. His defensive game plan held Navy's impressive triple option run game to under 300 yards for the second consecutive year.
Prior to Spangler's arrival on campus, Tech ranked dead last in the country in total defense (483.33 ypg) and scoring defense (41.7 ppg) and next-to-last in rushing defense (225.38 ypg) in 2006. However, under Spangler's guidance, the Bulldog defense has made huge strides and propelled the program to the 2008 Independence Bowl title.
In 2008, the Bulldogs allowed only 103.9 yards per game on the ground, the best since the program joined the FBS in 1989 and an improvement of over 120 yards per game in only two years. Tech ranked 13th nationally in rushing defense and did not allow a single 100-yard rusher the entire season.
Tech also allowed only 23.7 points per game, the best by a Bulldog team since 1992. It was an improvement of 18.0 points per game in the past two years. The Bulldogs also posted a 21-0 shutout over San Jose State during the season, the first shutout by a LA Tech team since 1996 (a span of 148 games). It was also the first road shutout since 1988 (a span of 225 games).
In his first two years at Tech, six Bulldog defenders earned all-WAC honors including safety Antonio Baker, a two-time first team honoree.
The 48-year-old Spangler spent the past two decades as a full-time coach on the college football sideline where he served the first 10 years at Georgia Southern, helping lead the program to a pair of Division I-AA national titles. He spent 10 seasons at Division II Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C., where he served as the head coach from 2001-2006.
In 2006, Spangler's defense at Presbyterian ranked first in the South Atlantic Conference in scoring defense (13.2 ppg) and total defense (233.5 ypg) en route to a 7-4 record. In 2005, he led Presbyterian to a 10-2 mark, the South Atlantic Conference title and the school's first appearance ever in the NCAA Division II playoffs, earning him the league's Coach of the Year Award.
He also garnered two American Football Coaches Association Region 2 Coach of the Year Awards while at Presbyterian. His Presbyterian defenses were ranked in the top half of the South Atlantic Conference in all defensive categories each of his last eight seasons there, and his 1998 Blue Hose unit forced an incredible 48 turnovers in 11 games and ranked first nationally in turnover margin (+2.27).
After taking the job as the secondary coach at Georgia Southern in 1987, Spangler was promoted to co-defensive coordinator in 1990 and then took over the sole reins of the program's defense in 1992.
The Stone Mountain, Ga., native earned the Southern Conference Defensive Coach of the Year Award in 1993 as the Eagles won the league title and advanced to the playoffs. His defense ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense.
Spangler played defensive back at the University of Georgia from 1979 through 1982 and was a member of the 1980 Division I National Championship team that defeated Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. He lettered his senior season helping Georgia to the 1982 Southeastern Conference title, the program's third straight.
He earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from Georgia in the spring of 1984.
Spangler is married to the former Kim Pierce of Ft. White, Fla., and they are the parents of three children: Pierce, Peyton, and Gracie.