“We’re gonna try to play to our strengths. We’re not a tremendously big football team like you might see at some other schools, so scheme-wise we’ve got to be a little deceptive. We’ve got to move the pocket around,” Richmond said. “We’ve got to try to show the defense a lot of looks; I think you’ll expect to see a lot of different formations from us to keep the defense off balanced.”
Quarterback Justin Adams will once again direct the offense under center. With a year under his belt, making quality reads and decisions at the varsity level should be less difficult. Expect his interception total (10) to drop and his touchdown tosses (2) to increase in 2012.
“He’s a real smart kid (and) we just need him to manage the game,” Richmond said of Adams. “He needs to understand that he doesn’t have to go out and try to win it on his own. He’s got some good weapons around him.”
Spencer Prestwich, whom Richmond labeled as “explosive,” is expected to deliver highlights with breakaway speed. He’s complimented by Courtland Adams, a lanky possession receiver who’ll primarily split to the hashes.
Defense (6 returning starters; 4-3 variations)
Richmond has the vision of a high-flying, ball-hawking defense that churns in variations of an even-front scheme. “We’re going to try to put some creative things in there,” he said.
The Spartans logically should improve from last year on this side of the ball. A season ago, Murray coughed up nearly 33 points per game.
Derick Sanders, also the main ball-handler in the backfield on offense, will arm the defense. A four-year starter at linebacker, Sanders led the Spartans with 125 tackles — 61 more than any of his teammates in 2011.
“He’s a tremendously gifted football player — extremely dedicated in the weight room during the offseason,” Richmond said of Sanders, an honor-roll student with a 3.7 GPA. “You’re going to see good things from him.”
Sanders, however, has been limited at practice. He’s recovering from a procedure for a meniscus tear and is continuing his rehabilitation during the summer months.
“We’re really trying to keep an eye on him and keep him healthy,” Richmond noted.
Coaches preseason Region 7 straw poll: Sixth
Deseret News Region 7 prediction: Sixth
Bottom line: Murray is young — like watching "Power Rangers" with a sippy cup young — compared to a lot of varsity squads this season. That could bode well in a few seasons as players start to develop and gain invaluable experience during the often tumultuous, incremental leap from little league to high school varsity play. In the meantime, the Spartans should be more competitive this season after coping with a coaching change mid-season in 2011. However, making the playoffs seems like quite a stretch at this point in time.
Aug. 17 — CYPRUS, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 — at Granger, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 — at Taylorsville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 — ROY, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 — SKYLINE, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 — at Olympus, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 — at Westlake, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 — HERRIMAN, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 — at Hillcrest, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 — BONNEVILLE, 7 p.m.
Felt’s Facts for Murray High School
All-time record: 330-457-24 (94 years)
Region championships: 9 (1942, 1954, 1955, 1959, 1975, 1977 co, 1988 co, 1993 co, 2004 co)
Playoff appearances: 24
All-time playoff record: 16-21