Young linebacker duo Ellis Walker, Cole Guidroz playing for senior class

Published 12:10 am Sunday, August 14, 2022

NEDERLAND — The Nederland Bulldogs feature a young team this season with approximately six sophomores starting on defense. But coaches and players do not see this as a rebuilding season.

Part of that attitude starts with sophomore linebackers Ellis Walker and Cole Guidroz.

“This is the last season for the seniors,” Walker said. “I would hate to let them down. We have guys like Landen Caywood, who is one of our star defensive players. That is a lot on our backs. We just have to lock in and win. We just hope to bring a lot of wins.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Walker said the mentality is to not let his teammates down.

“If I was a senior, I would want the sophomores to do the same,” Walker said. “I would want them to play like it was their last ride, so we are going to play like it is our last ride. We want to do this for them. It is their last year. It only happens once.”

Ellis Walker, left, and Cole Guidroz said team chemistry will only get stronger. (Chris Moore/The News)

Head Coach Monte Barrow said the team is not mortgaging the present to better prepare for the future.

“They have played the position, but neither of them have done it on Friday nights,” he said. “That will be a big test for them early on. We owe it to our seniors to be the best football team we can be right now. They are not there because we are trying to see how good we can be in three years. We are trying to be the best we can now. We talked to them about being impatient to get better. That is from sophomores, to seniors and coaches.”

Guidroz and Walker play the same position but go about it in different ways, creating a balance. Walker, who is a bit taller, is better in coverage, according to Barrow.

“Ellis moves well,” Barrow said. “He has worked receiver and tight end for us. He can go sideline to sideline and has the frame to hold up inside. Cole is the bulldog type. He is shorter in stature and not as fast, but doesn’t back down from the contact part of it. Our staff does a great job of knowing how to use them in different ways. It can be a positive, for sure.”

Guidroz is more of a thumper, who models his game off of Hall-of-Fame linebacker Ray Lewis.

“I always watch him,” Guidroz said.

The two linebackers have been friends since the fourth grade and spend time together off the field, whether it is trips to the recreation center or playing video games.

“I like sports in general,” Walker said. “I just like socializing, whether it is playing sports or hoping on the game late at night.”

Walker said that chemistry is apparent on the field.

“It helps a lot,” he said. “It is easier to talk to him, I guess I could say. During inside zone, when we are working run plays, he knows what I am going to tell him before I tell him. It is good to have that and we are trying to build that relationship with everyone else.”