Bryan Dutton is going on his fourth year as Guthrie's quarterback.
And while Dutton has been a critical piece for the Bluejays, even helping them win a state champion last year, he's just now sliding into a leadership role with the team.
“He's always led by example,” Guthrie coach Rafe Watkins said. “But he's got to take a bigger leadership role now. It's something that's coming long naturally for him but he's just always had so many kids in front of him in that kind of a role.”
Dutton returns to lead an offense that figures to once again be explosive if it can fill holes on the lines.
Kai Callins, who was used in a variety of roles last season, will take over as the primary tailback now that Luke Davis has graduated.
“He's got a chance to be a really special player,” Watkins said. “We expect to be able to move him around some but he's going to mainly be our tailback.”
Dutton's top target figures to be junior Donovan Jordan, who had more than 400 yards receiving as a sophomore.
“He's got great hands,” Watkins said.
The question mark on offense will be on the line, where Guthrie replaces four starters.
Evan Plagg is the only starter back on the front and he'll move from right tackle to left tackle.
Most of the other spots are open to competition going into the final weeks before the season.
On the defensive side, the linebackers are the biggest hole.
“We're going to be inexperienced there,” Watkins said. “We're getting better every day but we'll see what those guys can do once the games start.”
On either side of the linebackers, though, Guthrie figures to once again be solid on defense.
Four starters return on the defensive line, with nose guard being the only open spot.
Trevor Blassingame and Richard Brothers will be two of the biggest pieces to Guthrie's defensive front.
The secondary also comes back mostly intact, with only Davis' spot needing a new face.
The Bluejays are once again in a tough district, with Carl Albert, Deer Creek, McGuinness and El Reno, but Guthrie once again figures to be a state-title contender.
Watkins will miss the season's first four games in serving the end of a suspension that began with the playoffs last year.
But he doesn't anticipate that being an issue as defensive coordinator Kelly Beeby will coach the team on game nights and Watkins can coach during the week of practice.