The hole in the Floyd Central offense is gaping and the question is obvious: Who will run the football for the Highlanders?
For the last two years, that answer was like hitting the Easy Button. Give the ball to No. 3 and get out of the way. Kyle Bramble, the state’s leading rushing last year with 2,875 yards and 47 touchdowns, was the Floyd offense.
Everyone, even the best, eventually graduates. Bramble bid farewell and departed for Dartmouth. No heir apparent has emerged.
“We’ll find out how much we miss him,” Floyd coach Brian Glesing said. “He was obviously a great football player. He could score from anywhere on the field. But great programs just replace, reload. That’s what we’re hoping.”
Glesing is counting on his system, on his steadfast belief that perfecting fewer plays makes his team difficult to stop. So while the people in the backfield might change, the offense will not. The Highlanders will run the ball, no matter who gets the carries.
“We plug in the parts,” Glesing said. “This is what we do and how we do it. We’re going to get good at what we do. We won’t reinvent the wheel every week, or put in a new offense every year. That’s not how you win consistently.
“We feel we can plug somebody in there and they’ll be good at what they do. It’s the system that gets the job done for us.”
Floyd’s program has been consistent, winning nine games each of the last three seasons. And the necessary nucleus is in place with a veteran offensive line featuring seniors Brad Sims (center), All-State candidate Chaz Wolf (right guard) and his twin brother Joe (right tackle).
In addition, senior quarterback Bryce Smith (954 passing yards and 11 TDs last season) and fullback Nick Uhl (351 yards) are ready for greater roles.
“A lot of the parts are there, but the big part is the one we’re looking for,” Glesing said. “I think someone will emerge. Once we figure it out, we’ll be fine. We’ve got running back competition, a lot of kids fighting for the spot who are very equal. “
The competition has been fierce between six running backs (Garry Posey, Gabriel Kennedy, Austin Carl, Gavin Horner, Brennan Schramke and Gaige Klingsmith).
Floyd’s other problem is an old one. The Highlanders gave up 26.2 points per game last year and 28.8 the year before. They haven’t authored a shutout since the 2003 season. The defense must solidify, especially without Bramble’s quick-strike ability to bail them out in a scoring shootout.
“We think we’ll be more aggressive on defense,” Glesing said. “We know we have to improve there, that’s been our weakness. We’ll blitz a little more, get more pressure, instead of being a reading defense. We want to get after it more than what we have. That’s our goal.”
With only 10 seniors on the roster, Glesing will count on newcomers and underclassmen in many positions.
“We have great attitudes and great effort,” Glesing said. “That’s the philosophy of the program. They’ve got themselves ready to compete. Our goal is to be pretty good by October. We want to get a little better every day and peak out by the end of the year. Maybe we might surprise some people. We’ll do whatever it takes to be successful.”