Note: Mountain View finished with a 5-6 overall record in 2010 and a 4-2 record in Region 7. It lost to Spanish Fork, 56-48 (3OT), in the first round of the 4A playoffs.
OREM — For a coach whose team graduated all but four starters following a 5-6 season, Mountain View's Jon Snyder is sure excited about the upcoming season.
It took his players about half the 2010 season to adjust to the Triple Option offense, but once they did, Mountain View was virtually unstoppable. After starting the season 0-5 and averaging just 15.8 ppg, the Bruins went 5-0 the rest of the regular season averaging 41.8 ppg.
"They bought into what we were doing last year. We went 0-5 and then picked it up and then started rolling," said Snyder.
Even in a 56-48 playoff loss to Spanish Fork, Mountain View's offense was unstoppable, scoring 42 points in regulation.
Despite graduating all but three starters from that offensive juggernaut, Snyder believes his offense can pick up where it left off.
"I feel like we're way ahead of where we were last year. We were still putting an offense in. These guys know this offense now and they're ready to do their job," said Snyder.
The offensive line in particular is ready to do its job. All three offensive returning starters are lineman — center Filipe Sitake, right guard Joseph Hartshorn and left guard Leka Taufa. They're the reason Snyder says he sleeps well at night this time of year.
"We're just going full steam right now. Last year we were working on plays and trying to figure out all the kinks and this year we're going right into it," said Hartshorn. "We just need to work on every player going 100 percent every play."
Mountain View will have an extra week to prepare as well after its Canadian opponent from Lethbridge backed out of the Bruins' endowment game less than two months before the season.
Snyder knows he and his players will be restless that first weekend knowing the rest of the state is strapping on the pads, but the extra practice can't hurt — especially with Bountiful, Westlake and Timpview on the schedule the first three weeks.
Mountain View had three players rush for nearly 1,000 yards a year ago, but all three are gone. Replacing the trio is no easy task, but the pieces are in place.
One of those players was quarterback Brandon Bingham. His little brother, Jacob Bingham, is taking over the starting QB role this year, and the junior is more than capable of picking up where his brother left off.
Replacing all-state fullback Bennett Maxwell will be Jared Cruser. Taylor Watts and Naisa Palu will be the primary running backs.
Bingham said he already feels pretty comfortable with the offense, and the experienced line protecting him is the main reason why.
Mountain View opens region play against Timpview on Sept. 9. Last year, the T-Birds rolled to a 51-14 win, but this year Snyder expects more from his team. The challenge is to convince his players they can beat Timpview and not be intimidated before the game even starts.
Mountain View Bruins at a glance
Coach: Jon Snyder finished with a 5-6 record in his first year as Mountain View's head coach last season. He's a graduate of Dugway High School.
(3 returning starters; Triple Option offense)
Returning offensive linemen Sitake, Hartshorn and Taufa are the main reason confidence is as high as it is this season. Mountain View rushed for nearly 5,000 yards last season and the trio were a big reason why. Cruser has arguably the biggest shoes to fill at fullback, replacing Maxwell who rushed for 922 yards. As high as expectations are, the offense will need to be patient because it plays some very tough defensive teams early in the season.
(1 returning starter)
Taylor Wach is a returning starter at linebacker, and Caleb Newby and Devin Lindley got a bit of experience in the secondary, but after that Mountain View's defense is brand new. Tim Blatter is taking over as defensive coordinator, and Snyder loves the excitement and energy he's brought to the field this year. Palu has the potential to surprise a lot of people at linebacker this year.
Coaches preseason Region 8 straw poll: Third
Deseret News Region 8 prediction: Fifth1 comment on this story
Bottom line: The Triple Option was a big hit for Mountain View the second half of the season. There's reason to believe the Bruins can pick up where they left off, but this time around everyone knows what to expect. Virtually every team in Region 8 will be better than last season, and with only four playoff spots available for the eight teams, Mountain View can't afford another slow start — which is entirely possible with so few returning starters.
Aug. 19 — BYE
Aug. 26 — at Bountiful, 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 — at Westlake, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 — TIMPVIEW, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 — at Provo, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 — MAPLE MOUNTAIN, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 — at Timpanogos, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 — OREM, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 — at Salem Hills, 7 p.m.
Oct. 19 — SPRINGVILLE, 7 p.m.