Sunday, July 17, 2011

Great American Conference 2011 Preview

The Great America Conference will be in their first season as a conference. The Arkansas based schools come from the Gulf South Conference, while the Oklahoma based schools come from the Lone Star Conference.

Henderson State Reddies
2010 Record: 7-4
The Reddies were a power passing team last season, but the loss of Nick Hardesty will be painful for them. Hardesty passed for 4007 yards and 30 TDs last fall. Elliot Hebert, a converted WR, will have more demanded of him the run game. He only ran for 357 yards and 4 TDs last fall. TE Sean McGrath will return as the leading receiver, but the Reddies lose their top 3 WRs as well. Nick Johnson is the top returning WR, as he caught 31 passes last fall. DB Jeremy Rodenburgh will lead the defense, but the Reddies had significant losses on that side of the ball as well.
Season Opener: 9/1 @ Central Arkansas

Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils
2010 Record: 4-7
UAM also loses their starting QB, and that will be costly here as well, with no experience returning. Nakita Myles returns at RB, but only rushed for 680 yards and 7 scores last fall. DJ Stephens returns as the top WR, but only caught 28 passes last fall. The Boll Weevils are lacking big time play makers offensively. DB Royel Johnson will lead the defense after recording 89 tackles last fall, but they lose their top 2 LBs. Looks like another long season coming up.
Season Opener: 9/3 Arkansas Tech

Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys
2010 Record: 4-7
Rico Kellar struggled as a freshman last fall, as he tossed 14 picks against 11 TDs. He should show signs of improvement as a sophomore, as Tech absolutely needs him to get better. Kellar also led the team in rushing, and scored 7 more TDs on the ground. Roger Jackson comes back after leading the team with 50 receptions last fall. The Wonder Boys lack depth or play makers on defense, which could prevent them from improving on their 4 wins from last season.
Season Opener: 9/3 @ Arkansas-Monticello

East Central (OK) Tigers
2010 Record: 5-6
Tyler Vanderzee returns at QB, but tossed 15 picks against his 15 TDs. Improvement is a must for the incoming senior. Charles Opeseyitan will have to improve on his 427 yards rushing last fall for the Tigers to break their sub .500 record of last season. Zack Patterson posted a line of 50-809-3 last fall. More scoring will be needed from him to give Vanderzee a shot at knocking down his 15 picks and increasing his 15 scores. DB Markell Walker was the teams leading tackler as a freshman last fall, but he needs more help. Armonty Bryant is one of our DL to watch this fall, after he posted a total 19 TFLs last season. He led the Lone Star Conference with 13.5 sacks. DB Dontae Smith is on some preseason watch lists at CB after picking 6 passes last fall.
Season Opener: 9/3 @ Incarnate Word

Harding Bisons
2010 Record: 6-4
The Bison finished by winning 3 straight last fall, and Chaz Harding takes over as a junior at QB. Kale Gelles, a senior, RB, finished 22nd nationally in rushing with 1099 yards in 10 games last fall and scored 10 TDs. The run game is the focus, and Jeremy Holt added another 527 yards last fall. Both return. The Bison do lose their top two receivers. The loss of Jason Thomasson at LB will hurt, and the Bison lack other consistent tacklers. Jermaine Blanchard's loss (9 sacks) will be equally as painful. The Bison lose their top 3 TFL artists from last season. Terrence Davis will anchor the secondary after defending 6 passes last fall.
2010 Opener: 9/3 @ Southern Arkansas

Ouachita Baptist Tigers
2010 Record: 6-4
The Tigers lose QB Eli Cranor, and they will be going into the fall with no experience there. Daniel McGee needs to take on the focus of the offense at RB, as he finished 2nd in the Gulf South Conference with 926 yards rushing and 11 scores last fall. The Tigers also lose 10 TDs in run scoring with the loss of Cranor, who also passed for 14 TDs. Brett Reece was solid at WR as a sophomore, and will give the new QB a fantastic target to pass to. Jaime Harris will join him, but needs to be a bit more vertical in the passing game, as he barely averaged 10 yards per toss last fall. Blake Burkett was the best player on a lacking defense last fall, and he is now gone.
Season Opener: 9/10 @ East Central

Southeastern Oklahoma State Savage Storm
2010 Record: 3-8
The Storm will be placing all of their hopes on the arm of junior QB Logan Turner, who was solid as a sophomore last fall. Turner passed for 2353 yards and 24 TDs to 10 picks, and they scored 30 or more points 4 times, but the defense failed them. More on that in a minute. Jamaal Evans has to take over at RB for Baylen Laury, who led the Lone Star Conference in rushing yards per game last fall with 119.2 yards per game. Brandon DeFrance led the team in receiving as a freshman last fall, and will be a huge piece to the puzzle in 2010. That defense that failed the offense gave up 35 or more points 8 times last fall, and needs a massive overhaul. DB Steven Harris was the leading tackler last fall, and returns, but he needs help from the front. Alex Moore was the only member of the front seven to even put moderate pressure on the backfield, and he is now gone.
Season Opener: 9/10 Central Oklahoma

Southern Arkansas Muleriders
2010 Record: 1-9
Tyler Sykora played in 8 games as a freshman last fall, and should win the QB job coming out of camp. He passed for 5 TDs in limited duty, while only tossing 2 picks, so there is some promise. Carlos Brown rushed for 612 yards and returns as a junior. The Riders will need more than his 2 TDs rushing that he produced last fall. Josh Profitt returns as the leading receiver as a junior this fall, but again, more is needed from him. DB Jon Writt will come in as the leading returning tackler, but the Riders lose their two top tacklers from last fall. They are hoping that Bryon Rashad can be the guy to apply some pressure up front, but he only registered 7.5 TFLs last season. DB Don Unamba returns after defending 6 passes last fall, but he missed two games to injury.
Season Opener: 9/3 Harding

Southwestern Oklahoma State Bulldogs
2010 Record: 3-8
Dustin Stenta struggled at QB as a freshman, as he tossed 10 picks to just 7 TDs. He may still struggle as he learns as a sophomore, but improvement is expected. DC Walker should step into the RB job, but he showed little from last fall. TE Ryan Corbin will return after leading the receiving corps, but again, that's not worth much.The defense gave up 40 or more points 5 times, including 77 to West Texas A&M. Jonathon Darby and Steven Harris both return after collecting 91 tackles each. But both were DBs. DJ Miller will join them as a defensive leader, as the former RB defended 7 passes last fall. Cash Johnson collected 7.5 TFLs as a freshman last season, and the hopes for the front seven rest with him. Marvin Tribble led the team with 4 picks last fall, and returns to the loaded secondary.
Season Opener: 9/1 @ Northwestern Oklahoma

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