Postcards from Camp: Ludke's Merry Men

Bobby Sansone, Senior Writer

August 22, 2003

YARMOUTH, ME – “We’ve pretty much got the division locked up, the only question that remains is if we will score the most points in the league this season,” a confident Steve Dugas told from his first-floor office in his new Yarmouth estate. The Merry Men went just 6-6-1 last year but rode the wave of parity right to the YFFL Championship game. The Merry Men feature the youngest starting lineup in the league with no player older than 27. In fact, Drew Bledsoe is the only player in camp this season over the age of 30. The young Merry Men will have to prove that they have enough experience to win more than 6 games in a season, something they haven’t done since 2000.

Biggest Question Facing Owner Steve Dugas

How do I avoid the Bledsoe-Culpepper fiasco this season? Last year’s QB battle undoubtedly was a major distraction for the Merry Men. Rather than cut the veteran QB, Dugas will keep Bledsoe on the roster but will not play him this season over Culpepper. It should be interesting to see what Steve does should Culpepper falter.

Rising Star

Jerry Porter. Porter will blow up this year. The talented Oakland WR has been in the shadows of Tim Brown and Jerry Rice for years now but appears ready to crack the starting lineup. Porter joins Antonio Bryant and Donte Stallworth to form one of the better trios of WRs in the league.

Probable Starters

Culpepper, Alexander, McAllister, Porter, Stallworth, Becht, Gramatica, Bryant

Final Observations

The Merry Men appear ready to post their first winning season since 2000. The starting lineup is talented and there is enough depth on the bench to fill in adequately on bye weeks. It’s hard to say how good this team will be. Culpepper is up and down and it will be tough for Stallworth and Bryant to match their scoring from their rookie seasons a year ago. Nevertheless, the Merry Men are poised to return to the YFFL Championship game.