Bronchos Lock Down Defense
UCO’s defense lines up for a play during a Fall 2016 football game in Edmond. (Provided/ Vista Archives).
The University of Central Oklahoma football team opens the new season this fall after a down year in 2016; the Bronchos and Defensive Coordinator Russ Pickett will have their work cut out for them this season as they look for redemption.
The 2016 campaign did not go as planned as the Bronchos finished with a 3-8 record allowing almost 450 yards per game and giving up 38 points per game. “I didn’t demand the type of effort it takes to win in the MIAA,” Pickett stated. “We took steps towards getting that corrected during spring practice.”
Coach Pickett, now in his sixth year, has taken those steps by acquiring pieces defensively to, “make an impact on our football team.”
So far there has been 15 new additions to the defensive side of the ball, and a few more expected to make their debut in camp come August. Thus, giving more depth of talent for the new season.
Although the 2016 season wasn’t what many were hoping for, some silver linings did come out of it. According to Pickett, it was the experience gained by the majority of the defense. “We played a lot of new faces last year,” he said. “All of those players are back with an offseason and spring ball under their belt.”
With the added experience of the defense, the Bronchos want to improve upon impact plays. Pickett wants more negative plays and turnovers from his defense, something that was lacking in previous years.
— UCO Broncho Football (@UCO_Broncho) April 24, 2017
Opponents last season had a 47% third down conversion rate, a percentage the defense plans to bring down. “I want a defense that gets off the field in third down situations,” Pickett said.
The Bronchos’ defense in the upcoming season is playing for more than just the numbers in wins and losses columns and more than just stats in a book.
Pickett said he wants his defense to play for each other, for their coaches, and for their university. “I look forward to coaching a group of kids who are committed to playing with unbelievable effort,” Pickett stated.
When people watch the Bronchos this season, the defense hopes to give them something to talk about. To Pickett, it’s that “the Broncho defense plays the game the right way.”
As the 2017 football season draws nearer, the Bronchos are gearing up for battle. With another offseason of development, the defense plans to be the “tough, physical and relentless” kind that Pickett is looking for.