For more than a decade, Hereford High has been the model of success in Baltimore County football. But, arguably for the first time, the Bulls are facing more questions than answers heading into the 2010 campaign.

Hereford (10-2 last season) has only one returning starter from a squad that lost to eventual Class 3A champ Linganore from Frederick County, which finished No. 1 in the final state media poll. Longtime Bulls coach Steve Turnbaugh knows his team is on a huge learning curve in the coming weeks, but was optimistic after Saturday’s Baltimore County Jamboree at Dundalk.

“I wasn’t sure how they would respond to the speed and up tempo of the varsity level,” said Turnbaugh. “I think some kids grew up today. We’ll find some mistakes, but we’re moderately pleased.”

Turnbaugh has been impressed with development of Scott Niles, Kenny Baker, David Eldridge, Tim Baugh and Blake Moffett. Living up to their nickname, the Bulls have seven linemen who weigh at least 300 pounds.

“The younger big guys are a step slow because they’re thinking too much. They haven’t grasp the assignment part of it; paralysis by analysis,” said Turnbaugh. “Once they get confident, I have no doubt they’ll be able to do it.”

The offensive front is vital to complimenting a talented group of skill performers led by seniors Tim Bristol and Vince DePaola. DePaola, whose brothers Nick and Andrew starred for the Bulls and now play for Rutgers University, missed most of last regular season because of injury.

“It was most frustrating year of my life,” said Depaola, who returned for the Bulls’ post-season run. “We got great skill guys, our o-line and d-line has to come together. Everybody has to step up.”

steve turnbaughThe explosive unit will also have Jake Ingram, Richard Lee, Will Bittner and Isiah Taylor. Turnbaugh said he’s been pleasantly surprised with his quarterback’s ability to stretch the field out of the Bulls’ option set.

Hereford will have an entirely new defense with Bristol (defensive back) the lone returning starter. The Bulls allowed 161 points in 12 games last season, but 41 came against Linganore in the state semifinals.

“We’ll just need to put it together,” said Bristol. “I believe the hard work we put in practice and persevere; we can have the same tight defense we had last year.”

The Bulls have a daunting task to start at North Harford on Sept. 3. The Bulls defeated North Harford twice last season including the Class 3A North Region finals in Parkton.

“I’m sure our name has been plastered all over North Harford’s weight room since the playoff game last year,” said Turnbaugh, whose team outscored North Harford, 65-10, in the two meetings. “They got a good group and we’ll be challenged.”