By Malcolm Butler
Sonny Cumbie is not only the head coach for Louisiana Tech, but he serves as the quarterback coach for the Bulldogs as well.
During spring practice, Cumbie wasn’t the only new face in the QB room.
In fact, there wasn’t a familiar face in that room of the Davison Athletics Complex since the 2022 Tech roster doesn’t boast a single QB that was on last year’s Bulldog team.
On Wednesday morning at the 2022 Conference USA Media Days in Arlington, Cumbie talked about the make-up of the room which includes transfer seniors Matthew Downing and Parker McNeil and true freshman Landry Lyddy.
“We are fortunate to have Parker McNeil and Matt Downing,” said Cumbie, who was named the Tech head coach in December. “I coached Matt Downing two years at TCU and Parker a year at Texas Tech. The thing that is so valuable that they bring is the amount of practice reps, the amount of experience they have in our offense. Really both guys were in situations where they played behind exceptional quarterbacks, and they never really had the opportunity to be the starter on a consistent basis.”
Downing saw action in seven games during his time at TCU (2019-21) after starting his career at Georgia (2018) after prepping at Alpharetta High School in Georgia.
“Matt started against Iowa State in 2020.,” said Cumbie. “The first game I believe of that season. He played the first half and was 12-of-19 for 154 yards playing against a really good defense.”
McNeil played two years at Navarro – leading the NJCAA in passing yards both seasons – before seeing action in one game at Troy (2020) and no regular season action at Texas Tech (2021).
“Parker was a guy who was a scholarship quarterback at Troy,” said Cumbie. “Came to Texas Tech and now is here with us at Louisiana Tech.
“Both of them have a ton of experience. Both of them prepare really well. And there is a value that you place in that. There is a value that you place in the fact they are coaching up a guy like Landry Lyddy who just got to our program. They are showing him how to prepare.”
Mote, who enters his sixth year at Tech and who started the past 22 games on the Bulldog offensive line, feels both of the upper classmen have a good shot at starting.
“Both Parker and Matthew are great dudes off the field, and like (Coach) said, have really jelled well with the team,” said Mote. “They both add something different like he said. I am really excited to see both of them play and really excited to see who is going to end up coming out on top. I think both of them have the ability and opportunity to be the starter for us. I’m hoping the best for them and whoever gives us the best chance to win will be out there.”
“Ultimately with competition one of them has to be named the starter and one of them has to take the lead,” he said. “Really the one who gives us the best chance to win will be playing. They are both a little different in terms of skill set. They both throw the ball really well. I think Matt has the ability to extend plays a little bit more. Parker has the ability at times to see things over the middle of the field.
“I am really excited about both of them. Both of them are ultra-competitive. I feel like they have really jelled well in our locker room, and I think they provide some stability in terms of leadership. Now it’s my job as the quarterbacks coach to provide them stability in their performance in playing.”
The Bulldogs are set to report to camp August 2 with the first day of official fall practice set for August 3.
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