When the Grandview Bulldogs take the field for their season opener, their starting lineup will feature only four players who played at least half of the team’s snaps last season.
Fifth-year head coach Andy Leech says this will be the youngest Grandview team in his tenure — by a wide margin.
But while the Bulldogs lack experience, Leech feels they can make up for it with their ability.
“We’ve got enough talent where we can still win a lot of games,” Leech said. “We know as coaches the inexperience will bite us in the early going, but we’re not going to back down our expectations, because we have some of the best talent we’ve ever had.”
And it could stick around awhile.
Grandview projects to start only five seniors, said Leech, who then listed the team’s top four offensive playmakers — running back Jacory Bell, tight end Darius Walker and wide receivers Arlonn Tolson and Terron Thompson — and noted that none of the four are seniors.
“It looks really, really good next year and the year after,” Leech said. “But that doesn’t change anything for this year.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Grandview plans to mix up its alignments more often this fall. The Bulldogs allowed all but one of their opponents to score 21-plus points last season. They finished 5-6 in 2013.
“We need to show offenses more looks so they can’t scheme against us,” Leech said. “Our linebackers are going to have to make more reads.”
Those linebackers will be piloted by sophomore Marshawn Swift and junior Matt Blakenship.