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Note: Tooele finished with an 0-10 overall record and last in Region 11 with an 0-6 record in 2011. It did not qualify for the playoffs.
TOOELE — Kyle Brady knew his first year as Tooele’s head football coach wasn’t going to be easy, but he never envisioned his team would suffer through an 0-10 season.
The Tooele alum learned a lot throughout the winless campaign, lessons he believes will benefit the program not only this year but in the years to come.
“I think a lot of people thought because I’ve had some success as a player, I’d come in and we’d be good automatically. We’ve just had so many down years. It’s going to take time to build things back up,” said Brady.
“We have a lot of good young kids coming back. I think we’ll improve from last year. We’ve only got one way to go and that’s up.”
To help the program get back on track, Brady has made subtle and significant changes. Subtle changes include ditching preseason games against West and Hurricane in favor of games against similar opponents.
Brady hopes the change helps his players gain confidence heading into Region 11 instead of getting physically beat down against superior teams and drained of their confidence.
Secondly, the struggles of last year made Brady realize a change in offensive philosophy was necessary. He believes a switch to the Wing-T offense gives Tooele a chance to be successful.
“It’s a bit easier for us to block. It makes it so the kids feel a little bit more comfortable with the offense and feel like they can make the blocks they need to make and not have to block a big guy 1-on-1,” said Brady. “When we play Morgan and Bear River, they have some big linemen and it’s hard for our little guys to get into them sometimes.”
Brady hired BJ Hunter to be his offensive coordinator, a Wing-T specialist who enjoyed his best success with Olympus in the late ‘90s with Mike Miller.
Brady has been pleasantly surprised how the players have picked up the offense. He believes the run-oriented offense will help Tooele run a bit more clock this season and keep games closer.
Success won’t come easy though. Tooele will start three or seniors at most this season and might start a couple of sophomores and a freshman.
“We might take some bumps and bruises along the way trying to get them to learn, but we have some real good younger athletes and some kids that have football savvy,” said Brady.
Senior Adam Mikesell is one of the few seniors expected to start this year, and the quarterback has really taken to the new offense. He regularly spends time after practice with coach Hunter going over the Wing-T offense and learning all its intricacies. Mikesell isn’t the most athletic quarterback, and his success will be based on making the right reads at the line of scrimmage.
Despite last year’s frustrating season, fullback Zach Coffman still knows a thing or two about winning. He was a state champion wrestler at 170 pounds last year, and his coach is hoping he can bring that winning mentality to the football team.
Along with his role at fullback, Coffman will start at defensive end. He’ll be joined by returning starting linebacker Andrew Spendlove.
Despite the struggles of last year, Brady believes the defense should be better this season.
“If I can team these kids where they need to be, what they need to be doing and we can play assignment football, we will actually have a pretty good defense,” said Brady.
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