For the Record

Coach: Steve Lindsay, fourth season

Record: 22-10

Starters back: 2 on offense, 3 on defense

Past five seasons: 39-16, two playoff appearances (1999, 2003)

The Breakdown

Steve Lindsay might have to light a fire under some of his players occasionally but not the running backs this season. They're doing it to themselves.

Six Cougars, none with much experience, are battling for carries, including seniors DeQuinte Green, J.D. Dodson, Scott Carroll and Marcus Curtis.

"There's a lot of competition at running back," Lindsay said, "so it's easy to say, 'Don't fumble. If you fumble, there's five other guys who can come in and take'" your job.

Similar competition for playing time pervades the roster. Although Thomas Stone is short on experienced playmakers, the Cougars have a higher turnout than in years past. Lindsay expects the varsity roster to approach 40 players.

"We're deeper than we've been, but we don't have many locks [on positions] right now," Lindsay said, "so that will keep them going."

Thomas Stone always seems to produce some of the best all-around players in the SMAC, including some of the fastest, but none has appeared yet. "There are no game-breakers here," Lindsay said.

Look for last year's backup, senior Ryan Sirna, to take over at quarterback. He will give the position a different look from past years. Sirna is a more traditional drop-back passer, unlike Antonio Lewis and Frankie Warren, who were excellent runners.