The 2016 season could not have gone better for the Fayetteville Purple Dogs. Fayetteville was able to rack up another state 7-A state championship. The offseason though, witnessed Bill Blankenship return to Oklahoma and Fayetteville go through another coaching search. Fayetteville brought in Billy Dawson to lead the Purple Dogs title defense.
Dawson is facing a unique challenge with the Purple Dogs. The offense will be faced with the difficult task of replacing Taylor Powell who has departed for the SEC and Missouri. Darius Bowers will get a chance to lead the Purple Dogs offense. Fans should look for Fayetteville to continue to throw the football, with Cody Gray still being a dangerous target. The offense could take a while to click and put up the points, but once they do this should once again be a playoff team.
The defense has only one returning starter, and this could be a difficult year for Fayetteville to find some consistency on the defensive side. Look for Coleman Johnson to see some early reps at the defensive end position. The Purple Dogs may not have a great deal of experience coming back on the defensive side of the ball, but this group has plenty of talent to be dangerous. I look for the Fayetteville defense to click and begin to force teams off the field at some point this season.
Fayetteville may suffer some growing pains but do not let that fool you. The Purple Dogs are a dangerous team and reaching the playoffs is something that should not come as a surprise. Fans should look for Fayetteville to make the playoffs but how far they advance will be a question mark.