A year ago, Dex Larsen hadn't yet carried the football in a varsity game.
His name hadn't been all over the Omaha World-Herald, and Huskerland Prep Report hadn't yet asked if world domination was in his near future.
Larsen was just a Blair High School sophomore trying to get a feel for the playbook.
This fall, the junior bruiser has it figured out and he's well aware of who made his 1,355-yard sophomore season happen. It's the same “selfless hogs” that'll be smashing open holes in defensive lines this fall.
“They're going to get it done,” Larsen said. “And I will, too.”
Offensive linemen TJ Swaney, Tommy Thompson, Aidan Mohr, Brady Soukup and Lance Hume are stout and experienced heading into 2019. They're confident they're backs and receivers can count on their work during the next nine weeks of set-in-stone football games.
“It's exciting to know the potential,” Thompson said, listing off the reasons why that potential exists — from previous success to work ethic and continuous improvement. “Having no wasted talent across the field is the big goal.”
One of those top talents, Larsen, is 100 percent onboard.
“I think our line is going to be great,” he said. “I know they're going to get it done.”
The Bears' season won't hinge all on the run game, though. The Stewart Cemer-Quincy Nichols connection has graduated, but seniors Jason Stewart — a quarterback — Colin Quick and Gavin Acker could be among those taking up the passing-game cause.
“We'll throw it around,” Larsen said. “That's when me and the other back turn into the line, too. We've got to do our job and block everyone to get everyone else the stats.”
“The passing game will keep the defense on their toes,” Thompson added.
The running game prospects, and the potential for a fresh, new passing attack, likely helped Blair reach No. 5 in the World-Herald's preseason top 10. But do the Bears want it bad enough to live up to the hype?
“Oh, for sure. For sure,” Larsen said. “Our practices are so much more fast, so much more fun and we're ready.”
Offensively, expectations are high.
“There is no limit,” Thompson said. “The ceiling is so high.”
But just like Larsen knows his line is key to his success, both Bears know the defense will be vital to picking up wins.
“We don't want to have to outscore (our opponents). I think our defense will be just as stout as it was last year or even stouter,” Thompson said. “But we will be bringing the heat with offense also.”
With that, the offensive lineman looked to his returning 1,000-yard rusher.
“Think that sounds good?” Thompson asked.
Larsen gave confirmation, saying, “That sounds great.”
Coach Bryan Soukup's latest BHS team starts its season 7 p.m. Friday at Plattsmouth.