2011 Preseason Top 25: #22 Copperas Cove Bulldawgs

#23 RR Westwood WarriorsPreseason Top 25 Home#21 Cy Woods Wildcats

Coach: Jack Welch
Mascot: Bulldawgs
Region: 2
District: 12-5A
2010: 9-2, D2 Bi-District (L to Mesquite Horn, 14-48)

PROGRAM

Rank Avg. 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
Wins 9 10.80 9 8 13 12 (4A) 12 (4A)
Adj. Offensive Scoring 51 5.36 5.27 2.20 8.62 n/a n/a
Adj. Defensive Scoring 8 -9.65 -9.58 -6.94 -12.43 n/a n/a
Dominance 21 15.01 14.84 9.13 21.05 n/a n/a

Like many of the programs in the top 25, success wasn’t handed to the Dawgs.  They put in a good four decades with only one playoff appearance to show for it.  Coach Welch took over head coaching duties in 1993, then came an explosive athlete by the name of Vontez Duff who both put the Dawgs on the map in the late 90′s.  Since 1998, Cove has only missed the playoffs once (2003), qualified for two state finals (both in 4A), and won three regional finals.

OFFENSE

Returning Offensive Starters: 6

Unit Rankings
Backfield:
Receivers:
Offensive Line:

Key Players
QB Orlando Thomas, Senior (’10 2nd All-District)
RB Brandon Hamilton, Senior (’10 1st All-District)
WR Johnny Sirmans, Senior (’10 2nd All-District)

Players to Watch
WR Robbie Seybold, Junior (5’9 165)
TE Girod Fluellen, Junior (6’0 195)
OL David Moore, Senior (’10 1st All-District)
OL Israel Hamm, Junior (’10 1st All-District)
OL Justin Greene, Junior (5’10 220)
OL Les Sakaria, Junior (5’9 285)

DEFENSE

Returning Defensive Starters: 5

Unit Rankings
Defensive Line:
Linebackers:
Secondary:

Key Players
DE Eric Raysor, Junior (’10 2nd All-District)
LB/RB Darius McClinton, Junior (’10 1st All-District)
DB Chris Rhodes, Senior (’10 2nd All-District)

Players to Watch
DE Josh Lyons, Senior (5’11 215)
DT Mckiel Robinson, Senior (5’8 235)
DT Tyler Agnello, Junior (6’0 220)
LB Sean Harris, Senior (5’11 165)

SCHEDULE

8/26 @ Southlake Carroll

This will be a much tougher, more experienced SLC team than they beat by 21 last year. Cove is on the road this time as well.

10/14 @ Bryan

If you’re a fan of the ground game, this one is for you. Bryan RB Nate Jones and Cove ATH Orlando Thomas are sure to put on a show.

10/21 vs A&M Consolidated

These two teams are clearly the creme of district 12-5A and should be playing for the title again. Consolidated won last year’s contest by 14, but underwent a coaching/philosophy change this off-season.

2011 Schedule:
8/26 @ Southlake Carroll
9/2 @ Waco (4A)
9/9 vs Univ. de Nuevo Leon (MEX)
9/16 Open
*9/23 vs Belton
*9/30 @ Temple
*10/7 vs Killeen Ellison
*10/14 @ Bryan
*10/21 vs A&M Consolidated
*10/28 @ Killeen Shoemaker
*11/3 @ Killeen Harker Heights

THE BOTTOM LINE

Offense: Cove is known for their rushing attack, and this season won’t be any different.  Senior QB Orlando Thomas is extremely talented in the open field, which is why the dynamic athlete lines up at a position that guarantees he’ll touch the ball on every down.  Thomas carried the ball 164 times for 1359 yards and 15 touchdowns and senior RB Brandon Hamilton also returns after posting almost 9 yards per carry in 2010.  With a majority of the offensive line back, Cove should be in a great position to improve on last year’s numbers.  The question mark is how effective the passing game will be? It doesn’t need to be a big part of the offense, but it does need to be effective enough to make defenses respect it a little bit.

Defense: Similar to their ground game, Cove consistently excels on defense.  Much of the credit should go to the Dawg coaching staff because consistency results from a well executed system despite new faces rotating through every year.  This year, five starters will be back including all-state candidate junior LB Darius McClinton who does a lot of work in the opponent’s backfield (14 TFLs, 4.5 sacks as soph).

Overrated if: They don’t perform better against the tougher teams on the schedule.  Showing some kind of passing threat would go a long way in helping the offense’s overall effectiveness against the better defenses.

Underrated if: They show improvement on both sides of the ball from last year.  In 2008, the Dawgs were +8.62 AOS on offense and -12.43 ADS which resulted in 13 wins and a trip to the D2 state semifinals.

Photo by: Steven Doll/Killeen Daily Herald

Filed Under: 2011 Gridiron Guide2011 Preseason Top 25 CountdownFeaturedNewsPreseason Top 25

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