The Bronchos took another step back in 2010. After sweeping the LSC North in 2008 (and 7-4 overall), UCO has posted records of 4-7 in 2009, and 2-9 last fall. On the positive side, three losses were by just one point and two others were by just one score.
Offense - This was not the problem last year. UCO was averaged 32.4 points and 383 yards per game last fall, scoring at least 20 points in every ball game. Headlining the returnees is Josh Birmingham. The LSC North freshman of the year rushed for 1,250 yards and 18 TDs and led the Bronchos with 49 receptions. QB Ethan Sharpe threw for 2,444 yards and 24 TDs as a sophomore. He did throw 13 interceptions, but just 9 over the final 10 games. Daniel Morrell, Tucker Holland and Dolphin Davis all return as well. Adding Birmingham's numbers in, they combined for 171 receptions for 1,981 yards and 18 TDs. They do lose two 2nd team LSC North selections up front (Jake Kessen and Cody Ellett), but return starters Justin Pruitt, Cody Hughes and Jacob Tigges.
Defense - This was a problem last year. The Bronchos gave up 37 points (13th in the LSC) and 429 yards (last in the LSC) per game. They do return 3 second team and 3 honorable mention LSC North performers from last year. Up front Herbert Byrd and Sam Moses are back at the tackle slots. They had a combined 91 tackles, with 10.5 for losses. Tucker Cason and Turner Troup will be back at linebacker. The top two tacklers on the team combined for 180 stops, with 13 for losses and 3 sacks. Despite the impressive tackle numbers, opposing teams were able to rush for 196 yards per game, and pick up 4.7 yards per carry. The top returnees to the secondary are Creadell Pennon, Randy Stanley and Keno Meadows. Pennon had 5 interceptions, while Meadows was third on the team in tackles with 87. Stanley finished fifth in tackles (53) and tied for second in interceptions (2).
Special Teams - Chris Robbs received second team LSC North recognition after a season that saw him convert 7-10 field goals and 41-44 PATs. Those three misses were costly, however. He had one blocked in OT at Incarnate Word, missed one in OT against Southeastern Oklahoma, and missed another with 1:26 to go against Texas A&M Commerce - all three games were one point losses. Robbs also averaged 55.8 yards per kickoff, with one touchback. Backup QB Landon Greve handled the punting duties and will be back as well. On 66 punts, he averaged 34.6 yards, with 18 downed inside the 20 yard line and 21 fair catches. All of the top returners are scheduled to be back as well. Creadell Pennon averaged 11.4 yards on punt returns, while Artrell Woods (22.6 avg) and Dante' Lipscomb (22.7 avg) split duties on kickoffs.
Top 5 signees
QB Dylan Warner - the #100 QB as rated by ESPN Recruiting Insider, threw for 3,585 yards and 37 TDs in his HS career, 5A All-Stater
OL Brock Enmeier - the #116 OG prospect by ESPN Recruiting Insider, the 6-4 300 pounder also lettered in basketball and baseball
WR Christian Hood - another all state selection, had 38 receptions for 726 yards and 6 TDs, also had 7 interceptions
Ath Xavier Williams - in his HS career at Mansfield Summit, Williams rushed for 1,600+ yards and 13 TDs, while also throwing for over 3,900 yards and 40 TDs.
DB Richard Stanley - younger brother of Randy, all state selection at Tulsa Union
Other top signees
OL Preston Paine
DE Kyle Aschenbrenner
DL Marty Northern
DL Deontay Wilson
LB Ashton Dandy
The Bronchos were the hard luck team of the LSC last fall, and return the bulk on both sides of the ball. Still they added some nice talent, mostly for down the road, but a few players should be able to contribute some next year. Without any clear impact players, we can't grade this class too high. Grade C+