Above photo of Andy Padron from @CruFootball
BELTON- Andy Padron has seen UMHB football evolve through the years.
He was the Cru’s starting quarterback for much of the year when UMHB reached the Stagg Bowl for the first time in program history, in 2004. And he remained the team’s signal caller for the two seasons that followed, helping build what is now well-known as the “Code of the Cru”.
That was 16 years ago. Since that point, he has watched the program continue to blossom from afar. The transition from playing games at Belton High School to Crusader Stadium. The national championships. The ASC Championships. In fact, he coached at Crusader Stadium in the D-III Playoffs in 2014, but as the opposing offensive coordinator.
That will change this fall. He will finally get his chance to step onto the turf at Crusader Stadium as part of the Cru.
On February 11, first-year head coach Larry Harmon hired the Desoto High School Offensive Coordinator as the next leader of UMHB’s offensive attack.
“The familiarity with the current coaching staff [having been a part of the program in the early years], the winning tradition, and the community aspect of it [made this a great move],” Padron said. “We have two girls; a six year-old and a three year-old, so my wife wanted to be in an area where it’s a great place to raise a family. All those things added up to a perfect opportunity for us to come back here and be a part of the winning.”
Padron knows winning. His coaching career initially began at San Antonio’s O’Connor High School, but three years removed from college, his father, Danny, was hired as Texas Lutheran’s head coach. So father and son made the jump from the high school level to the college ranks, with Andy becoming the team’s quarterback coach during that 2011 season, moving into the offensive coordinator role the next.
“[My dad] had been offered the job at TLU a few times, but had always turned it down,” Padron recalls. “This time, he was talking to me about it, and I said, ‘Yeah, I don’t mind. I’ll go.’
The results were astonishing with the duo guiding the Bulldogs. In 2012, Padron’s second year as the OC, TLU’s offense broke the program records for passing yards (3,253), passing yards per game (325.3), total offense per game (480.9), touchdown passes in a season (29) and total yards of offense in a single game (616). In 2013, TLU led the SCAC in the following statistical categories: league in total offense, rushing offense, passing offense, scoring offense, turnover margin, passing efficiency, fewest turnovers lost, fewest passes intercepted, first downs, third and fourth-down conversions, red zone offense, and pass completion percentage. If that was not proof enough of Padron’s exceptional skill as an offensive coordinator, perhaps the fact that the Bulldogs ranked fourth in the nation in 2014 in first downs offense is.
The statistics are a window into the remarkable six years the father-son coaching duo had in Seguin. During that span, the Bulldogs were 38-22, claiming three SCAC titles, and reaching the D-III playoffs for the first time in program history in 2014.
Then consider that in the previous three seasons before the Padrons’ arrival, TLU was a combined 6-24.
“We took over a team that had won six games in its last 30 games and our first year there we won four,” Padron said. “Then the next year we were right around .500. We started to take off from there and built it into a team that made it to the playoffs, which had never been done there before.”
That inaugural D-III playoff appearance for the program meant the younger Padron would be headed back to a familiar place: Belton. The Bulldogs nearly shocked the Cru too, falling 27-20 in a game that spanned 25 hours due to repeated lightning delays. TLU, armed with a gameplan, kept the ball on the ground and out of UMHB’s hands, holding possession for 48 minutes and tallying 31 first downs to UMHB’s 10.
“I don’t know that it has ever happened in NCAA football history where a game has been played over a two-day span,” Padron remarked. “We came up short, but we were right there. I think that was my first time being in the stadium. It was like, ‘Gosh, look at where this place has gone.’”
His stint at TLU lasted one more season, with the Bulldog offense once again finding itself listed amongst the nation’s best in a number of statistical categories. But by the end of that 2015 season, those around the country had begun taking notice of the remarkable turnaround in Seguin, including those at D-I FCS program Bowling Green. Padron took the offensive coordinator job with the Falcons beginning in the 2016 season, and his presence was once again felt immediately. In his first year, James Morgan emerged as one of the top freshman quarterbacks in the country under Padron’s guidance, as Morgan became the first freshman in program history to throw for 250-plus yards in four straight games. The following year, he worked with another freshman quarterback in Jarrett Doege, who started at West Virginia later in his collegiate career. Padron notes that his D-III experience helped greatly in the transition to the D-I level.
“I was talking with a friend of mine who is the recruiting coordinator at Campbell and said, ‘You know what a lot of guys at the D-I level don’t realize is they think, ‘He’s just been a coach at a D-III school.’ But you know what, those are some of your best recruiters, because you’re having to convince a kid to come to your school with no athletic money to offer. You’re having to really build a relationship with them. That helped both of us recruit at the D-I level.”
Unlike the situation at Bowling Green, Padron’s first season in Belton will not mean guiding a true freshman at quarterback. Kyle King returns as UMHB’s starter after a stellar senior season in 2021, and will lead an offense with a variety of weapons. Padron, also the program’s quarterbacks coach, is eager to get things rolling in his first spring with the Cru after two successful seasons in the same position at DeSoto High School.
“There’s a higher level of intensity and talent overall, compared to when I was here 15-18 years ago,” Padron said. “The talent got better every single year, and now it’s at the top. I’m impressed with the speed we play with, the ability in running the routes, the size and athleticism of the offensive linemen. All of that is a lot better than when I was here and that’s a credit to Coach Fredenburg, Coach Harmon and the guys that have been here and built this thing.”
Padron will work in building the offense to his coaching style over the course of spring practice and into the fall. Though unable to divulge too much of what the Crusaders are working on offensively, he did share what his vision for UMHB’s offense is entering the 2022 season.
“I think probably one of the big differences between what the offenses looked like in previous seasons and now is we’ll have more passing concepts and really force teams to worry about us throwing the ball,” Padron said. “We want to be able to throw the ball down the field and execute through the air, and not necessarily have to throw RPO stuff or one-on-one type stuff.
“We have a pretty extensive passing game, so for us, philosophy-wise, we want [defenses] to have to defend, not only the run game, but have to defend the pass game and make that decision.If teams want to load the box up against us and stop the run game, we want to have a pass game where we feel like we can attack and be efficient at it.”
With tremendous success at both the high school and college levels, Padron is confident entering his first season as the program’s offensive coordinator. And the UMHB offense appears confident as well. The Crusaders have the playmakers necessary to combat whatever opposing defenses will throw their way.
“Everywhere I’ve been, we’ve never been more than 60-40 either way,” Padron added. “Whatever teams want to take away, we’re going to do the opposite.We’re going to do whatever we can do to get the most amount of yards the most efficient way possible.”
2 Replies to “Former UMHB quarterback Andy Padron eager for first season as Offensive Coordinator”
I can’t wait to see the Cru back on the field this fall……. The Cru have so much talent and that is before the incoming Freshman arrive…….. 🏈🤠