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Note: Wasatch finished with a 5-6 overall record and was fourth in Region 10 with an 2-3 record in 2011. It lost to Hurricane, 42-7, in the first round of the playoffs.
HEBER CITY — Steve Coburn had no intention of leaving North Sanpete after just one season as its head football coach, but when the Wasatch job opened up, he figured it was time for his wife to have the final say.
“I’ve drug her all over the state with me, so it’s time for us to go back home,” said Coburn, whose wife has family in Orem.
North Sanpete’s loss is Wasatch’s gain.
Coburn brings a solid resume to Heber City, which includes five successful years as a head coach at Snow College. His first order of business is to bring stability to a program that was in an awkward transition period last year with the dismissal of coach Steve North.
Craig Davis filled in as head coach in a pinch last year, but with Coburn’s arrival Davis returns to his more comfortable offensive coordinator role.
With Davis at the offensive helm and Coburn sprinkling in a bit of his philosophy, Wasatch and its seven returning offensive starters have the potential to be very good. The line is unproven, and there’s question marks at running back, but the skill kids returning are excellent.
“We’ve got the skill positions to be very explosive offensively,” said Coburn.
Offensively and defensively though, the lines are the concern. After going back and watching film of Wasatch get pushed around in the trenches last season, Coburn’s plan to toughen up his new players has involved weights, weights and more weights.
During two-a-days, they’ll be lifting. Throughout the season they’ll be lifting.
“If we can get those positions shored up I think we have a chance to be pretty good,” said Coburn.
Jackson Strong is Wasatch’s only returning offensive lineman with any experience, but Coburn isn’t coming to Heber City empty-handed. His son, Taylor Coburn, was the starting left tackle on Manti’s 2A state championship team last year. He’s pretty bummed to be relocating prior to his senior season, but his big-game experience should pay dividends for Wasatch.
Coburn will have another familiar face with him this year. Derek Bringhurst, his offensive line coach at North Sanpete last year, will be Wasatch’s offensive line coach this year.
“The line wasn’t as good as it needed to be last year. I think Derek will shore things up there,” said Coburn.
You can bet that James DeLacenserie, Jake Larson and Talem Franco hope the line comes together in time. The seniors have a special bond in the spread offense, and are talented enough to help the Wasps challenge for the Region 10 title.
DeLacenserie leads the way at quarterback, a year after completing 48 percent of his passes for 1,777 yards and 21 TDs. His best game, ironically enough, came against Coburn’s North Sanpete team last year as he passed for 229 yards and four TDs.
DeLacenserie’s ability to beat teams with his arm and feet is what Coburn really likes.
“As a coach against him last year, the thing I was impressed with James was he was able to extend plays. He can make plays with his arm, but if it broke down he could break the pocket and still make plays after that,” said Coburn. “He’s a big kid, works hard in weight room.”
Franco, who led Wasatch with 466 receiving yards last year, has noticed a big difference in DeLacenserie this year.