The Tennessee Football Alliance will kick off its inaugural season in February and the consensus around the league is that if any team wants to take home the trophy and the league-provided set of championship rings, they will have to get through the Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs.
While it’s certainly easier said than done to dethrone the kings, that’s every other team’s goal. Despite being favored to pull it off, the Dawgs know they’ll have their work cut out for them to take home their third league championship in as many seasons.
“We have to realize that we have a bullseye on our backs,” Bulldawgs general manager Scott Wallace told Developmental Football USA. “Every week will be a dogfight for us because each team will give us their best shot.”
Early in 2017, the Bulldawgs won both the Middle Tennessee Football League Championship and the Mid-South Football League Championship. In January, they will play for a national championship in Deland, Fla., at National Bowl Weekend before gearing up for TFA play the following month.
Middle Tennessee is by no means looking past their national championship game, but when a team has developed a winning culture, consistency and confidence is just part of who they are.
“We expect to win every game,” Wallace said. “No one can touch the experience we have on our coaching staff. Every one of them has played the game at a high level and most of them have multiple semi-pro rings. Then, we are extremely talented in all three phases of the game. Our special teams has to be one of the most dangerous in the country.”
Should a team pull off the upset, the most likely candidates appear to be the Dickson Chaos, Tennessee Fury or Clarksville Wolfpack at this point. However, one new promising team could be prove to be Middle Tennessee’s top competition.
“Every team will be shooting to stop our winning streak,” Wallace said. “I feel it will be wide open. An intriguing team is the Louisville Piranhas. Their owner, Bryan Mooser, will have a bevy of talent at his disposal and the location of the team will allow him to have Kentucky and Indiana guys.”
The Bulldawgs have a bevy of talent themselves and Cass Barnes and company are ready to send a warm welcome message to the new kids on the block.
“Every successful team has a great quarterback and ours is the best in the league,” Wallace said. “Cass can do it all and he looks the part. Our running game, led by Keon Bohannon will be tough as well.”
An offensive line, led by Michael Maddin, will open up holes and provide protection for Barnes so Middle Tennessee’s whole arsenal of skill players can showcase their abilities.
On an all-around stout defensive unit like the Bulldawgs, each player rarely gets the full individual appreciation he deserves. A hungry defensive line will look to defend, deny and dismantle opposing offenses and an attacking secondary will be ready to clean up the scraps.
“There are too many to name,” Wallace said. “Our line is one of the best in the country. Twin Johnson is probably our most versatile player on defense. He can play every position in the secondary. He can also put his hand in the ground and rush the passer. Our DBs led by Bay Bay Smith and Kali Perkins look to score if they get their hands on the ball, whether by turnover or in the kicking game.”
In 2018, the Bulldawgs sideline will look a bit different as some key players will be taking on coaching roles.
“Dequinn Watford will be our offensive coordinator and he is one of the brightest football minds around,” Wallace said. “Jason Hankins will be our quarterbacks coach and Chris Moseley will work with our offensive line.”
With many teams from the Middle Tennessee Football League coming over to the TFA, the Bulldawgs certainly have some familiarity and that’s one thing of many that gets Wallace excited about the future of this league.
“I’m very familiar with them.” Wallace said. “There will be a lot of talent on the field. One of the important things is the talent in each team’s front office. Having stable owners excites.”