With the Minor Professional Football League season kicking off in March, the Capital City Bison, of Round Rock, Texas, are getting geared up to make a statement on the field, for much more than just bragging rights.
The Bison have dedicated their 2017 season to one of their former players.
“This team here, these guys are humble,” special teams coach and offensive assistant Deacon Gilmore told Developmental Football USA. “They have a player that’s going through a health situation and they’ve dedicated the season to him. They’ve stayed gathered around him and keeping him lifted up in spirits – Cody Doughtery.
“His brother plays as well, they’ve really rallied around this guy. This season is going to be really special, especially if we win it all. They believe in the head coach and they believe in the owner. I’m glad to be part of the Bison family.”
Gilmore is in his first season with the Bison after owning the South Texas Crusaders for the past six years.
“I coached during the summer league with (the Bison),” Gilmore said. “We had a balanced scheme, the defense was always stout and the offense was always scoring and moving the ball. We should be pretty fine-tuned heading into the season.”
The Bison lost in the championship game during their summer league, but with many key components coming over from that season, they’re expecting to make a big push in the MPFL this year.
“A lot of our guys are playing multiple roles, doing different things that bring this team together,” Gilmore said. “They are very hungry and very humble. They see the vision that Coach Brown has for the team and they are buying in, and the defensive coordinator, Moose, they are buying in to him.
“Coach Brown as an offensive coordinator, they are buying into ball control, ball security and making defense play our type of ball. They are buying in and that’s what’s making this team better. The next game we have it’s going to build on to that and draw us in closer.”
Offensively, the Bison are expecting a big season out of two of their running backs as well as their whole receiving corps.
“Alvin Smith, he’ll hit it and turn up field,” Gilmore said. “He’s like Eddie Lacy at the beginning of of his Alabama career. He gets the ball and turns up and goes. He’s not a dancer like (Darren) Sproles. He’s as short as Sproles, but he’s going north to south.
“Sammy Wheeler is the Barry Sanders type. He’ll get the ball, stop on a dime and change direction on you. He’s the finesse guy, he’ll hit you if he has to. He’s the finesse guy and Alvin is the bulldozer. You don’t know what you’re going to get when they’re both lined up in the backfield, it’s very unpredictable when they’re both lined up together.”
Defensively, the Bison are led by defensive end Clayton Jones and safety Dekkar Williams.
“(Jones) is a defensive end and a tight end,” Gilmore said. “He’s primarily a defensive end and we have some packages we use him as a tight end. He’s so tall, has a long wing span and he’s a very athletic guy.
“We have a linebacker turned safety, Dekkar Williams, he comes down and makes the hit, he’s good in coverage and he can also play linebacker. We moved him back to safety to solidify the safety position.”
Gilmore said both the defensive and offensive lines are stout, which alone is a crucial part to any team that has hopes of making a run through the MPFL.
“I love the team as far as behavior on the sideline, they well-disciplined and well-managed on the sidelines,” Gilmore said. “That’s why I chose to come to this team.”
Before starting league play in March, the Bison have another tough test ahead of them in a pre-season game against the San Antonio Titans on Jan. 21.
“We hope to come out more fine-tuned than what we saw (last month) against the Scorpions,” Gilmore said.
The Bison came away with a 12-7 win in a pre-season game against the Texas Scorpions last month, and are looking for another one against the Titans before moving forward to league play.
“We look to make an opening statement when we play the (San Antonio) Warriors,” Gilmore said. “Our first test will be Jan. 21 in the Bison Bowl against the Titans.”