This year, the Kansas City Bulldogs will be tested and tried nearly every week until they turn equipment back in at the end of the year thanks to caliber of schedule they’ve put together, which is probably the toughest of any team in the country.
“There is a lot of anticipation for this season due to the schedule we have set up,” Bulldogs head coach Ron Cherry told Developmental football USA. “We have changed a few things this year in anticipation of the gauntlet schedule we are facing this season. We are training harder during camp and off-season programs. We’re bringing in a lot of really good young talented guys so we can have quality depth at every position. This is by far the toughest schedule we have had to face in the history of the Bulldogs organization.”
Going against several of the nation’s top programs won’t be an easy task, so thankfully the Bulldogs have a deeply talented roster of their own.
“Our defense has been our strength and identity and we want to get back to that,” Cherry said.
The table is set for the Bulldogs defense to once again be a force, with most of their 2018 starters returning from a unit that gave up three points and scored 14 per game, on average. You read that correctly – the Bulldogs defense averaged more points scored per game than they gave up.
“The 2018 defense was just a small sample of what we expect from our defense,” Cherry said. “We are pushing the defense harder this year to ensure we get them to play at an ever higher level. We still have a lot to bring to the table on that side of the ball.”
Team owner Tyrone Groves and Dorsey Golston III return to lead a secondary that will look to keep putting up points of their own, made possible by a ferocious front seven and its pass-rushing possibilities.
“Up front we’re fast with Louis Garry III and Harris Mgbike,” Defensive Coordinator Ray Williams told Developmental Football USA. “We have some new players in the mix with hybrid players like Xavier Gulley and Tenney Barber as well that provide experience, size and speed, all while being flexible and able to play many positions.”
Last year, the Bulldogs offense helped them squeak out a few close wins. This year, Coach Cherry is hoping it won’t have to come down to that.
“Ideally, that is not who we are,” Cherry said. “We are facing a lot of really good teams this year that are capable of putting up a lot of points. It will be priority number one for our defense to play well and at a very high level.
While the team may be known more for its defense, the offensive staff and its arsenal of weapons take plenty of pride in what they bring to the field for Kansas City.
“The offense made great strides last year as well and we expect them to continue to get better as they have a lot of fresh new talent on that side of the ball,” Cherry said.
Any good offense is built upon a solid offensive line – a unit that is led by Fred Dantzler for the Bulldogs.
“It starts up front with the Big Uglies,” offensive coordinator Dennis O’Brien told Developmental Football USA. “Without them, nothing is possible.”
Dantzler and company will be responsible for paving the way for Bulldog running backs and keeping their quarterback’s jersey clean.
“We have quite a few explosive skill guys, led by an intelligent, strong-armed, wily old vet in quarterback Barron Bradshaw,” O’Brien said. “With him at the helm, we are never out of a game.”
Last season, Bradshaw threw for more than 2,000 yards and 39 touchdowns through just 10 games, a good chunk of those going to wide receiver Christian Buckner, who led the league in receptions.
“He’s the wide receiver I am looking forward to bursting on the scene this year,” O’Brien said. “He is also an explosive return man, giving us great starting field position on every drive.”
To keep opposing defenses honest, expect a generous dose of all-purpose running back Marcus Skinner.
“He is an elusive power back with great hands out of the backfield, which it’s very hard to find running backs with that skill set,” O’Brien said. “He led our league in rushing and total yards from scrimmage. The sky is the limit for the Kansas City Bulldogs!”
In reality, the Bulldogs are loaded and the Midwest Football Alliance defending champions should be squarely in the mix for the third title in four years. On paper, they also match up well with each of their upcoming out-of-state opponents. Can they stand the test week after week?
“Going into camp, the numbers look really good and we are sure we will be able to accomplish our mission,” Cherry said. “I feel like our biggest area of improvement will be our run game on the offensive side of the ball and I think we need to improve our depth on defense with some quality players.”