SWOSU football: 'We have our eyes on a GAC championship'
By Logan Lassley
For The Southwestern
In 2019, the Southwestern Oklahoma State Bulldogs football team went 3-9 while saying goodbye to their starting quarterback, star wide receiver, and 16 other players, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of many after a promising 2-0 start had the season looking like a bright spot for the Bulldogs.
However, this did not discourage the players and head coach Chet Poblish, who said, “We have our eyes on a GAC championship.”
Here is a look at their chances to do so.
The Bulldogs reloaded on offense, bringing in two new quarterbacks to fight for the quarterback position. Tanner Green and Nick Sproles seem to be the favorites at this point, but with 5 other quarterbacks on the roster, the Bulldogs’ coaching staff has their work cut out for them in deciding who will get the nod.
This is not the only place to look on the Bulldogs’ offense. Former quarterback-turned-tight end Trey Gooch said, “We lost Tyler Marr who really knew the offense well, along with a couple exciting guys in the backfield. However, we have some really talented players coming back like Torin (Justice) and Justin Bailey, as well as Kenny (Graham) who really picked it up for us at the end of last season.”
On the field is not the only spot where changes have happened. Former offensive lineman Calton Bakker was brought on as the tight ends and fullbacks coach. Poblish relinquished play calling duties to his former player and longtime assistant Tyler Hennes.
Poblish said that "This will allow the offense to flow better. Coach Hennes has a great understanding of the offense and I have full faith that he will be able to see things I was not able to.”
The Bulldogs fielded a defense that allowed 30.5 points per game last season, but showed the ability to step-up when needed, forcing double digit turnovers.
A big reason for these turnovers is junior defensive back Jalen Carr, who had seven interceptions, a fumble recovery, and a blocked kick. These stats earned Carr a spot on the GAC All-Defensive Team as well as a spot in this season’s “GAC Starting Line-up.”
Other big names on the defense are junior linebacker Wesley Mathis, senior linebacker Dalton Cooper, and senior defensive lineman Isaiah Brown.
With much of the season in the air and tough in-conference matches such as Ouachita and Harding (who went a combined 21-3 last year), as well as rival Northwestern on the schedule, the Bulldogs have a lot of hurdles to jump. However, in the words of Trey Gooch, “We’re ready.”