High school football: Skyline Eagles 2012 preview

Published: Tuesday, July 31 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Note: Skyline finished with a 7-4 overall record and was second in Region 7 with a 4-1 record in 2011. It lost to East, 20-13, in the 4A quarterfinals.

SALT LAKE CITY — For the first time since 1986 a different man will pace the sidelines at Skyline High as the school's head football coach.

Roger Dupaix — after 301 career victories (246 of them with Skyline), 67 playoff wins and eight state championships — retired after the 2011 season.

In the 1990s, Dupaix led the Eagles to seven 5A state championships, including a record five straight from 1995 to 1999.

In 2012, Steve Marlowe inherits the reigns to the most decorated program in Utah history. And for those wondering what will change on the horizon?

Not much.

“Well, it’s hard to argue with success. I learned a lot of great things about football from Roger Dupaix,” Marlowe said. “We were together for 27 years. So, a lot of things will stay the same. We want to be consistent. The kids need to look at the coaches and see preparation and being able to make a commitment and believing in each other.”

The Eagles, known for their heralded option-attack, will still execute from the flex-bone.

“We’ve always run the option and whether it’s out of shotgun or under center we’re going to run the option again,” Marlowe said. “The thing the option teaches is toughness, execution and discipline. That’s really the basis for any good football program.”

Tyler Snyder, an intuitive thrower with the capability to connect on deep routes, will orchestrate the offense. The offense should certainly see an increase in production, comparable to years past where the passing game was limited. In fact, during sparse time as a junior, Snyder accounted for 33 percent (221 yards) of the team's passing totals in 2011.

“(We’ll have) the opportunity this year to throw a little bit more because we have a really great receiving corps and also a real good quarterback,” Marlowe said. “We like to throw the ball downfield but we like the option pass.”

However, the question mark hovering over the offense is directly over the trenches. If Skyline wants to develop a legitimate passing threat, the offensive line has to be addressed.

“I’m not worried about our specialty. The concern we have is our linemen,” Marlowe said. “At Skyline we don’t have real big, physical lineman. We have small, quick lineman. We’re a little low in numbers, but I think we’ll be fine.

“That’s the great thing about the option is you can disguise some of the blocking schemes,” Marlowe added. “There’s five or six different ways to run every option play. So being quick and smart — knowing your blocking assignments, even if you are blocking big, strong defenses — you still can have success.”

The program goals remain the same. During summer conditioning, as players fired off to cadence, the roars of “beat Olympus,” “win region” and “take state” echoed to Wasatch Boulevard.

“We had our goal-setting session and we tried to get that focus on what we need to do to be successful, which, No. 1, we always want to beat Olympus,” Marlowe said. “And then we want to try to win the region championship and then the state championship.

“Setting goals is the easiest part, but determining how you’re going to reach those goals is the hard part. Hard work and commitment is the key to a successful season.”