Like most teams, the Carthage Bulldogs have a number of questions facing them as they enter the 2019 season.
But not many are as glaring as the top question Head Coach Scott Surratt and his staff face as they hit the field Monday morning:
“Who’s going to be the new starting quarterback?”
They already have some opinions from off-season workouts, but Gunner Capps left some very big shoes to fill with a state title, a 30-1 record, more than 7,500 yards passing and 96 touchdowns.
“Our No. 1 need is to have a competition for the job at quarterback to find out who is going to be our starter,” said Surratt, who is beginning his 13th season with the Bulldogs. “We have to have great quarterback play for our offense.
“We’ll need to find some new kickers. We’ll battle for depth and starting spots at other positions. But no other position will be as important as quarterback.”
Surratt expects to have Anthony Wilson, Kai Horton and Craig McNew battling for the spot.
Whoever wins the battle, getting the ball to Kelvontay Dixon will be one of their top jobs.
The Arkansas commit accounted for close to 1,400 yards and 12 TDs receiving and running from scrimmage last year.
The Bulldogs did lose three players from an offensive line that helped put up big yardage, but among the returning players is Ty’kiest Crawford, who also has committed to Arkansas, and Tee Kellum.
“We lost three of them, but we have people who can step up and replace them,” Surratt said. “The biggest thing we have to do now is establish chemistry. Not just on the offensive line, but all over.”
The Bulldogs did lost some key people on defense as well, but again, the coach thinks he has people to fill the holes.
Among the returning players is leading tackler Rayvon Ingram at linebacker.
Defensive ends Quinton Owens and Quanterrius Brown, along with defensive lineman D.J. Hicks all return to give the Bulldogs a solid front.
“We’ve got just about everybody back from the defensive front and it should be the strength of this team,” Surratt said.
The Bulldogs are scheduled to practice from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. the first week of practice and will have their photo day on Saturday, Aug. 10.
The team will begin afternoon practices the second week, culminating in their only scrimmage at Pittsburg on Aug. 16.
The season opener is at Jacksonville on Aug. 30.