Expanding his horizons
Getting down into a defensive tackle’s stance and tying up offensive linemen — while making a few plays along the way — suits Landon Chalmers just fine, thank you.
“That’s where I want to be,” Union/A-C Valley’s senior two-way lineman said.
That may not be where he stays.
Chalmers, the Falcon Knights’ center who was named District 9 Small School Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2021, may move to linebacker on the defensive side of the ball.
“As dominant as he’s been on our defensive line, we may need to shift him there,” Union/A-C Valley coach Brad Dittman said. “we have a void at linebacker and Landon has the athleticism to play that position.”
While his postseason award came for his play on offense, the 6-foot-2, 259-pound Chalmers was a standout defensively as well last season. He recorded 56 tackles — 27 solo stops — to go with six quarterback sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery.
Not bad production for a guy who plays in the middle of the defensive line. Only middle linebacker Carter Terwint — now graduated — had more tackles (70) on the team.
“Carter leaves big shoes to fill and I feel like I can step up and do that,” Chalmers said. “If I had my choice, I’d be more comfortable playing on the defensive line. That’s where I’ve played football all my life.
“But if it’s better for the team that I play linebacker, I’ll make the adjustment. It’s a different set of responsibilities I’ll have to get used to.”
Dittman doesn’t see that adjustment as an issue.
“Landon is an intelligent football player. He’s a leader on this team,” the coach said. “He’s one of those kids who sets an example for other guys to follow.”
The same can be said for Chalmers’ offensive abilities as well.
Union/A-C Valley has a pair of running backs — Mikey Card and Dawson Camper — who are potential 1,000-yard rushers.
Chalmers wants to help them get there.
“When you have two backs like that, you know you want to run the ball,” Chalmers said. “I’ll be at center this year after playing right tackle last year. Either way, my job is to clear space.
“When you’re running the ball, you’re wearing down a defense. When you see the frustration and defeated look on the other side of the line of scrimmage ... That’s what we want to create.”
Being named Offensive Lineman of the Year was not a goal for Chalmers last year. Nor was it something he expected.
“I was very surprised to win that,” he said. “Now my goal is to repeat it. And whether I’m playing defensive line or middle linebacker, I want to make all-conference there as well.”
Dittman believes Chalmers can regain the accolades he received last year.
“He’s got all the tools to excel at any position on the offensive line,” Dittman said. “Landon has the strength, the speed, the footwork, the hands, the intelligence. He’s got it all.
“At this level of football, he can dominate. And I’m sure he will.”