TUOLUMNE -- If you're going to get in front of Summerville's Tanner Krieg, whether it's the lunch line or for a football drill, be prepared to move quickly.
"He's always like that, wanting to get everywhere quick," said Danny Brunolli, a guard preparing for his third year as a starter. "When you block for Tanner, don't slow down."
Krieg ran for 987 yards and 10 TDs as a junior, growing into a role as the featured back. He had 57 carries for 319 yards his first five games, 125 runs for 668 yards his final five.
"He gains a lot of yards after the first hit. He stays up and keeps going forward, so don't assume he'll be tackled," the 5-foot-10, 210-pound Brunolli said. "As a lineman, that's a guy you really want to block for."
After just missing the 1,000-yard mark, Krieg and his linemen have a goal of 1,500 yards. He'll need to get 150 yards a game or 140 yards and hope the Bears get to the playoffs.
Krieg should get his opportunity.
He had at least 25 carries in each of his last four games in 2011, including 25 for a career-high 174 yards in a 30-27 loss to Linden in the finale.
"I want the work. I've been thinking about it while I work out," said Krieg, who is still 6 feet but has added 10 pounds and will play at 195.
Conditioning is crucial for all the Bears, with fewer than 30 kids on the team going into tonight's debut.
"Some of us will go both ways, but we were expecting that and put in the work," Brunolli said.
Tyler Oliver and Darren Vallelunga rejoin Brunolli back on the line, and they'll also block for Joe Brochini and quarterback Jesse Roberson (95 of 203, 1,297 yards, 8 TDs, 7 INTs) as the Bears hope to diversify.
Last fall was a transition for the Bears, after prolific Zach Roberson passed them to three straight winning seasons and two playoff trips.
Jesse is a cousin, but he couldn't match Zach's efficiency. Summerville was winless in the five games he threw at least 20 passes and he had one TD toss while the Bears were going 1-3 the final four weeks.
Watson believes the return of 6-6, 195-pound Connor Morningstar is also going to help with consistency.
His size makes him ideal for patterns on the sideline or back of the end zone.
"It's my job to make sure I'm getting those," said Morningstar, who averaged 17 yards on 18 catches and caught three TDs. "I worked a lot on jump balls and swiveling my hips, so I'm facing the quarterback when I look back for the ball. That puts a smaller DB on my back, where he's unable to knock the ball away."
The fade route to the corner could be one of the Bears' best plays, with Morningstar veering toward a linebacker at the snap as if he's going to block. Instead, as play-action takes place in the backfield, Morningstar pivots and goes toward the corner.
"The better Tanner runs the ball, the better that play is going to be," said Morningstar, who had three receptions in four of five MLL games.
If a defense anticipates the play, it means the secondary will continue in pass coverage leaving a hole in the field if Krieg is given the ball.
"We've got some big teams in our league, so we've got to be able to do both to move the ball," Krieg said.
PREDICTIONS 1. Argonaut, 2. Calaveras, 3. Summerville, 4. Linden, 5. Bret Harte, 6. Amador.