BENNINGTON -- If coach Bill Hay and the Mount Anthony Union High School football team are to turn things around in 2012 after two tough seasons, they will do it with tons of options.
Lots and lots of options.
After running various offensive formations the past couple of years, the Patriots will switch to the triple option, an offense meant to confuse defenses and take advantage of MAU's experienced offensive line.
"We have fast lineman and with the personnel from last year, it's something we think we can run consistently," said MAU coach Bill Hay. "We don't have to have a stud quarterbacks and we feel it will help us be successful from year to year."
Mount Anthony loses 17 seniors, including Shrine Bowl participants Alex Cross and Matt Keir. Chris Redding, a senior, transfers to Burr and Burton Academy.
But returners on the front line include seniors Zach Bahan, Mike Plaisance and junior Rudy Vadakin.
"That's where we're most seasoned," Hay said. "Those guys played significant time last year, so they'll be the anchors on the offense."
The young guys coming up on the line should be pretty good as well. Perle Webb, a sophomore, was one of only two freshmen on the varsity last year and will make an impact, as Hay said he was considered one of the top linemen at the Rutland camp this summer.
Junior John Gijanto is switching from running back to line and despite being undersized, should make a mark.
"We have a more simple blocking scheme, which makes it easier for new guys coming up," Plaisance said. "We control the ball up front and control the game."
Hay said his goal is to have long, sustained drives -- running the clock and keeping the other team's offense off the field.
"The line sets the tempo," Bahan said. "It's good to have the vets up front, it makes it easier for the skill guys."
With Redding's departure, there's a battle at the quarterback position. Sophomores Carson Kushman and Damon Young are each fighting to be under center on Aug. 31 when the season starts against Burr and Burton, but Hay said each one may be a big part of the offense before the season is over.
"Its very tight and it's very possible to flip them back and forth," said Hay, entering his second season as coach. "I'm confident in playing either one."
In the backfield, junior Connor Rawlings, sophomore Tyler Mattison and junior Jake Normyle will split the majority of the carries.
"We ran the triple option a few years ago with Coach (John) Callahan," Hay said. "I wasn't an option fan until we ran it with him. We were successful and the program has struggled the past couple of seasons. We're trying to build the program back to where it needs to be."
With most of the players both starting on offense and defense, Hay said there will be a rotation to keep starters fresh late in games.
"The second-tier guys will get significant time," Hay said. "This group of kids is a good one and we have an expectation to continue getting better."
Mount Anthony's first home game will be on Sept. 7 against South Burlington.