In 2007, Southwestern Oklahoma had one of the more improved programs in the conference. They were coming off a 6-5 season and appeared to be headed in the right direction. However, last season's 1-10 record followed up 2008's 3-8 season, and now it's tough to tell what direction the Bulldogs are headed. SWOSU pulled out a 1 point win over a winless East Central at home, and that's it. Close losses against Northeastern State, Texas A&M-Commerce and a shocking loss to Oklahoma Panhandle finished off a tough season for the Bulldogs.Their offense averaged 12.8 pts per game (13th in the LSC) and 233 yards per game (12th). Their defense gave up 36 points and 436 yards per game, both 12th in the LSC. WR Jonathan Haggerty had a great season for the Bulldogs, claiming LSC North 1st team accolades. OLB Fred Leak also had a very solid season on defense (1st LSC North, 96 tackles).
Out with the old
QB Steve Day (2,088 passing yds, 9 TD/21 INT, LSC All-Academic Team) had a rough year with turnovers in 2009 and has moved on. The Bulldogs will lose more than 50% of their receiving yards due to the losses of WR Jonathan Haggerty (1st LSC North, 54 catches for 748 yds, 6 TD's) and TE Joe Sawyer (1st LSC North, 36 catches for 343 yards, 1 TD). They also lose RB Dashon Carter-Mayes (2nd leading rusher, 131 yds). Their special teams will be looking to replace P Chad McIntosh (2nd LSC North). DT Corey Summers (HM LSC North, 22 tackles, 7 TFL) will also need to be replaced in the middle of the Bulldog defense.
SB Bruce Hatton (HM LSC North, led team with 1,008 all purpose yards) is back to anchor the Bulldog offense, along with RB J.R. Hammond, who led team in rushing with 150 yds. TE Ryan Corbin (22 catches for 147 yds) took over as starter the last 4 games of 2009 as a freshman. The Bulldog offensive line returns four offensive linemen in David Prieto, Stephen Speer (2nd LSC North), John Niutei and Kane Bryen. LB Fred Leak (1st LSC North, 96 tackles) returns after an excellent 2009 season, along with LB Jaron Burgess (69 tackles, 7.5 TFL) give SWOSU a very nice LB corps. They will also have experience at the back of the defense with DB Jesse Wright (66 tackles) and DB Shane Scott (Led team in tackles with 100).
In with the new
Probably the biggest impact player coming in is QB Mike Van Deripe of Golden West College. While there, he became the All-Time leading passer with over 5,000 career passing yards. RB Isaac Tucker of Citrus College (395 rushing yds last year) hope to crack into the Bulldog running back rotation. DB Marvin Tribble of Independence JC (15 tackles) will see playing time as well as Golden West College transfer DL Sean Gordon (28 tackles).
All Conference Candidates
LB Fred Leak
OL Stephen Speer
OL Stephen Speer
All American Candidates
August 26th vs Emporia State - The Bulldogs have a golden opportunity to start 2010 off right with a home game against the Hornets, who were 2-8 in 2009.
October 16th vs Northeastern State - Homecoming at home against the Riverhawks is a must win for the Bulldogs success.
November 6 vs Central Oklahoma - Victory over the rival Bronchos is often as important as team’s overall won-loss record.
Best Case Scenario - 5-6
If the Bulldogs can pull off home wins against Emporia State and Northeastern State, and find a way to pull off upsets at Southeastern Oklahoma or at home against Central Oklahoma this could be a big step towards regaining momentum for the SWOSU program. Head Coach Dan Cocannouer brought in an impressive recruiting class of almost 50 kids. If some of them can step up quickly, it just might happen.
Worst Case Scenario - 3-8The Bulldog offense has to improve a lot this year. If it continues to struggle, a 3-8 campaign is very possible. The Bulldogs get caught in an LSC South nightmare this season, playing at ACU and Midwestern, and hosting TAMK and WT. That's about as tough as it gets.