TERRE HAUTE —
The Union Bulldogs lost 12 seniors from last year’s squad, making coach Todd Gambill’s chore of being the smallest public school in the state to play football even tougher.
Gambill will have to retool with players who lack experience.
Sophomore Anthony Ellis (5-foot-10, 185) takes over at quarterback after taking “maybe 10 snaps last year,” Gambill said. “Smart kid.”
Raylee Mesey is a “big, strong” junior looking to make an impact as the Bulldogs’ fullback.
The 5-10, 200-pounder “seems to be taking to the new position and is excited about playing there,” Gambill said.
Darian Kapman, Ian Hamburg and freshman Luke Miller will be vying for time in a committee tailback situation.
The Bulldogs will have some experience in front of the backs as Luke Manual (5-9, 190) returns at center, with Josh Rooksberry (5-9, 200) and Dakota Chesterfield (6-3, 210) returning at guard and tackle. Senior Blake Camden is also a contributor on both the offensive and defensive lines.
Austin Robertson (6-7, 215) could make a bigger impact at tight end and defensive end this season.
“We’re going to find out what he’s best at. He played more on offense last year. Little stronger and more mobile than he was,” Gambill said.
Seniors Nick Branson and Brandon Miller, along with junior Matt Sneed are back at wide receiver.
Mesey, Miller and Rooksberry could be the team’s linebackers, while Hamburg will play opposite Robertson at defensive end. Manual and Chesterfield will anchor the defensive line at tackle.
Miller, Kapman, Sneed and Destin Collison could see a majority of the time in the defensive backfield.
Union had to replace Linton and North Daviess on its 2013 schedule. The Bulldogs will play Southside Home School on Sept. 20. They had replaced Linton with Attica on Oct. 11, but they’ll now have an open date.
“The first few games, we’re going to feel it out and see who really wants to play. The kids have worked pretty hard for the time we’ve had for two-a-days and practice,” Gambill said.