INDIAN LAND — So the question stands: How do you replace Rondreas Truesdale, who led the area in rushing last season with over 2,100 yards and 34 touchdowns?
If you are the Indian Land Warriors, you simply diversify.
After finishing the football season 7-4 last year, Indian Land is looking for a third straight trip to the Class AA playoffs and to get over that first-round hurdle that has ended its season the past two years.
In trying to get back there, the Warriors will be without a main cog in the machine. Truesdale signed a scholarship with Delta State to play college football.
With a history of developing powerful running backs, Indian Land, ironically, now will try to take to the air more with five receivers on this year’s squad over 6-foot.
“We will throw the ball more,” Warriors coach Michael Mayer said. “We might even play a two quarterback system. Both (senior Dalton McGuirt and junior George Morris) are both smart and realize it’s a competition.”
The Warriors’ expected top two receivers are seniors Chris Barnes, who is 6-foot, and Conner Butler, 6-foot-2. Both are basketball players in the winter.
Mayer said that just because Indian Land plans to air it out more, it doesn’t mean the Warriors won’t be putting it on the ground as often either.
However, this year, the team will have more than just a couple of backs to rely on.
“Thank God for transfers,” Mayer said.
The Warriors had senior Dominique Smith move in from Florida and junior Terrell White transfer from Lancaster. And with Manny McCord, a running back up from the junior-varsity team last year, Indian Land should be in good shape.
“Between those three, we’ve got more depth at back than we have had in a while,” Mayer said.
Indian Land has four starters back on offense, all on the line, but Mayer said he is hoping for more depth to rise to the surface by the time the season starts.
“The front five we feel good about,” he said. “It’s going to be a brand new look.”
Defensively, Indian Land won’t change things much as it plans to continue running a 3-4 defense. Mayer is impressed with his linebacking corps, calling it, “probably the best set of linebackers we have had in the past five years.”
On special teams, Indian Land returns sophomore punter Shea Rogers, who averaged 40 yards a punt last year, and junior kicker Chad Thomas, who kicked field goals and extra points.
With realignment for the next two seasons, Indian Land didn’t get any favors being placed in the same Region IV-AA as Central, Chesterfield and Cheraw.
“The big key for us will be those first three ball games,” Mayer said. “We need to have success early. You need to have momentum going into our region when play starts.”
Indian Land will kick the 2012 regular season off against Buford on Aug. 24 at home.