2013 high school football preview: Gunnison Bulldogs hope offseason training will lead to season success
Note: Gunnison finished with a 3-7 overall record in 2012 and was fifth in 2A North with a 3-4 record. It lost to Beaver 48-7 in the 2A first round.
GUNNISON — Throughout the summer, if there was a noteworthy 7-on-7 camp, Gunnison was probably there.
From the Ute Shoot to Wasatch’s inaugural 7-on-7 to BYU’s massive event, Gunnison was consistently there gaining experience that coach Yori Ludvigson hopes pays big dividends throughout the season.
Among Gunnison’s strengths in 2013 is speed in the receiving corps and the secondary. As a result, Ludvigson wanted to give those kids as many reps as possible in what figures to be a busy season.
Offensively Gunnison hopes to spread it out and throw the ball regularly, while defensively Ludvigson plans on taking advantage of his athletic secondary by blitzing more regularly and using creative defensive schemes. The aggressive approach will put more pressure on those defensive backs to cover one-on-one, but the extra reps throughout the summer should make for a smoother transition.
Because realistically, with very little returning varsity experience a transition period is inevitable.
Gunnison returns one offensive lineman, one linebacker and a couple of receivers who caught about 10 passes a year ago. Beyond that, Gunnison has very little experience returning from last year’s 3-7 team.
After giving up 69 points to South Summit in the regular-season finale and then 48 to Beaver in the first round of the 2A playoffs, perhaps a fresh start is what Gunnison needs.
Offensively, that’s exactly what senior quarterback Tyson Moosman provides.
When Moosman showed up at Gunnison’s first practice as a freshman four years ago, Ludvigson couldn’t help but chuckle.
“He was the scrawniest kid,” he said.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Moosman broke his arm before that season even started, but he still showed up to every morning workout and every practice. Three years later, he’s ready to assume a role that once seemed impossible.
“Pound for pound he’s one of the strongest kids on the team, just a self-made kid that’s worked hard,” said Ludvigson. “He can throw the ball better than I ever dreamed he could. He has pretty good speed so he can run some, which will be nice.”
That type of work ethic is necessary if Gunnison’s ever going to get over the hump and enjoy a winning season for the first time since 2005.
While Moosman was worked hard to put on the weight, junior Ryker Pickett has worked extremely hard to take off the weight — another example of a contagious work ethic that’s rubbing off on the younger kids.
Pickett weighed 338 pounds at the start of last season, but this year he’ll begin the season roughly 70 pounds lighter at 270.
“He’s kicked it in, and realizes he has a chance to play college,” said Ludvigson. “That’s been a huge lift to these younger kids who feed off Ryker.”
Among those younger guys will be starting offensive linemen Jayden Lyon and McCoy Roberts. Their inexperience along with everyone else after Pickett is the biggest question mark on offense this season.
“Those kids have to come together. We have to find out who they are out of seven or eight kids. Some of them will be small with no experience, but they’re going to need to learn to fight and get after it,” said Ludvigson.
The same will be necessary defensively. After Jayden Rogers, who started at linebacker a year ago, the front seven will be entirely new in 2013.