Speed doesn't necessarily replace size, but one could expect Gunnison Valley's football team to be much faster this season.
Although the Bulldogs graduated 18 seniors from last season, many of those returning competed on the region championship track team, where they showcased their speed and agility in numerous events.
"We'll try to spread it out more and probably throw the ball more on offense," Gunnison coach Yori Ludvigson said. "Defensively, we'll try to bring more pressure. We had to play zone a lot last year because our corners were not as fast. This year, we can bring more heat and be more explosive on defense."
The Bulldogs finished 3-4 in Class 2A North and 3-7 overall, losing to Beaver in the first round of the playoffs. Gunnison, which hasn't experienced a winning season since 2005 (7-4), was held to eight points or fewer in five games.
Despite its inability to score enough points, Gunnison got many players involved on offense. Five quarterbacks completed a pass, three running backs rushed for at least 200 yards and five receivers each topped 150 yards receiving. Expect things to be a little more simplified on offense this season.
"We're headed in the right direction," Ludvigson said. "You'd like to win games, but at least we were competitive. We've turned the corner and been much more competitive the last couple of years."
Tyson Moosman is expected to start at quarterback, while Jayden Rogers is the primary ball carrier. Dagen Thomas and Jacob Hatch will be among the targets for Moosman. Thomas had four touchdowns in his 13 receptions last year.
The Bulldogs open the season Aug. 23 against South Sevier.
Gunnison Valley Bulldogs
ASSIGNMENT • Class 2A North
LAST YEAR • 3-7 overall, 3-4 Class 2A North
KEY RETURNER • Offensive/defensive lineman Ryker Pickett. Dominating tackle lost 70 pounds in the offseason and has gained speed and agility.
PLAYERS TO WATCH • Jayden Rogers (RB/LB), Tyson Moosman (QB/DB), Dagen Thomas (RB/LB) and Jacob Hatch (WR/DB). Each is a good athlete, and it will be interesting to see who breaks through.
BIGGEST HOLE • Offensive and defensive lines. With 18 seniors graduated, Gunnison lost a lot of its size and experience along the lines.
NEED TO KNOW • If the team is able to stay healthy, the offense could explode and put a lot of points on the board.