Scroll to bottom of story to see Uintah Felt's Facts
Note: Uintah finished with an 1-8 overall record and was fifth in Region 10 with a 1-4 record in 2011. It did not qualify for the playoffs.
VERNAL — First-year coach Cody Reutzel attributed the recent hardships of the Uintah football program to an overall mentality — noting that the Utes have had plenty of skilled players here.
They just haven't been able to take those talented players and make them into winners lately.
“I don’t think it’s a problem with talent out here,” said Reutzel. “I think some of them don’t know or understand their talent level yet. We really have a pretty good group of kids. I think right now our biggest task is changing their mentality from what’s happened in the past to what we’re doing in the future.
“We’re trying to build more of a program than just a football team. I think that people are going to be surprised at how Uintah comes out this year.”
For a program that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2001 — it'll likely experience many hiccups before reaching its ultimate destination.
“I don’t want to (say) much negatively about what’s happened (in the past),” Reutzel said. “I think it takes a little bit of time to change the actual mentality. It’s one thing to say we’re doing things differently, but it takes a little bit of time for the kids to believe.”
Right now, the main priority is getting players and coaches on the same page. Avoiding confusion — relegating tasks and assignments cohesively — is always the first step to improving on the field.
The Utes limped on both sides of the ball in 2011 — on defense coughing up over 40 points per game comparable to only scoring only 11 points on Friday nights offensively.
“I don’t know if we’re the fastest team and I don’t know if we’re the biggest, most physical team. I think that we’re a very technical team. We like to make sure that our details are taken care of — that our kids know exactly where they’re supposed to be,” Reutzel said. “I think as a coach we get caught up in talking about what we know. In our program it doesn’t matter what we know or what we think the kids should do. It’s our job to make sure the kids know and do those things that we supposedly know and I think we’re doing a good job of that so far.”
Albeit, the uphill battle is unenviable and transitioning to new philosophies under different leadership usually requires time, but Reutzel still feels the Utes will contend for the final playoff spot in Region 10 this fall.
“As far as expectations, our goal is to always win a region championship. That’s what we want to do,” he explained. “(Will) we do (that) this year? I don’t know if that’s going to happen or not but that is our goal. I would say if we didn’t make the playoffs this year it would be a complete disappointment. I have some pretty strong confidence that we can do that.”
Uintah Utes at a glance
Coach: This year is Cody Reutzel’s welcoming party to the scene of high school football — his first ever as a head coach. He’s gained experience as an assistant, most recently at American Fork. He’s a graduate of Cedar High.
(5 returning starters; Multiple-formation offense)
What’s Uintah going to do on offense? Anyone? Going once. Twice — anyone? Bueller? In his first season as a head coach, Reutzel is going "007" when it comes to his offensive strategies in an attempt to keep teams guessing. So, the answer is: Time will tell.
“I’m going to hold out on ya, ‘cause there’s not a lot of people that know the new coach (and) what’s going on,” Reutzel said when asked what type of offense he's building. “We’ll run the ball quite a bit and we’ll pass the ball quite a bit. We want to be proficient in both areas. We have a quarterback that can carry the ball pretty well.”
That quarterback is Maverick Lindquist. As a junior, Lindquist experienced the same travails the Utes in general did. In 150 pass attempts, Lindquist threw for 715 yards and four scores but was plagued with 16 interceptions.
This year has already started tooting a different rhythm. During his first career 7-on-7 passing tournament, Lindquist opened eyes.
“He’s developed like crazy,” Reutzel said of Lindquist. “I’ve been able to work with him a lot – his throwing motion and going through reads and progressions. He has progressed a lot. Just being exposed to those things and getting a lot of repetitions — working with his receivers and his fundamentals — he’s progressed a lot in throwing the ball.”
With a deep offensive line mostly comprised of talented juniors and several weapons in the backfield to compliment the newfound passing threat, the Utes hope to have palpable improvement with point production.
(6 returning starters; Hybrid 5-3 base defense)
The Utes are coming — sound the alarms — the Utes are coming. Uintah is going to be aggressive on the defensive side of the ball with the intent to cripple opposing rushing attacks.
However, actually accomplishing that is a different story. The Utes couldn’t stop a soul last year on defense. In all eight losses, Uintah allowed 30 points or more.
“We’ve got a lot of aggressive, strong kids on the defensive side of the ball,” Reutzel said. “I think there’s going to be a learning curve, definitely. I personally believe that on offense you can really get technical with the kids and take a group of kids and teach them exactly what needs to be done.
“Defense – it’s a little harder. It really it is a mentality and how aggressive they are. That’s going to be a main goal of ours is to teach those kids how to be confident and aggressive.”
Coaches Region 10 straw poll: Fifth
Deseret News Region 10 prediction: Fifth
Bottom line: Sneaky, sneaky. That’s right. Uintah has the chance to be the upstart, "wow-I-didn’t-see-that-coming” team of the year. It’ll be a dog fight between the Utes and Park City for Region 10's fourth playoff spot. Uintah's attitude is changing, and the complacency has been bleached out. This team expects to win and that’s half the battle. Look for the Utes to possibly make the playoffs, but currently that seems to be at least one year away.
Aug. 17 — at Stansbury, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 — GREEN RIVER, WYO., 7 p.m.
Sept. 31 — at Pine View, 7:00 p.m.
Sept. 14 — GRANTSVILLE, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 — at Wasatch, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 — at Juan Diego, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 — at Park City, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 — JUDGE MEMORIAL, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 — UNION, 7 p.m.
Felt’s Facts for Uintah High School
All-time record: 222-344-6 (67 years)
Region championships: 8 (1931, 1949, 1958, 1959, 1994, 1998, 2000 co, 2001 co)
Playoff appearances: 20
All-time playoff record: 10-19
State championships: 1 (1994)
State championship record: 1-1
Most played rivalry: 71 meetings with Union dating back to 1951. Union leads 36-34-1. Meet on Oct. 18.
Felt’s Factoid(s): Ute Rhett Deets accumulated 2,741 all-purpose yards (ranks 4th all-time) in leading Uintah to an undefeated, championship season in 1994.
Uintah coaching history
2012 — Cody Reutzel
2007-2011 — Doug Harding (14-34)
2006 — Kevin Dickson (2-7)
2005 — Mike Petersen (5-5)
2003-2004 — Kevin Dickson (9-13)
1990-2002 — Curg Belcher (72-52)
1988-1989 — Jeff Gustin (2-16)
1985 -1987 — Hank Nawahine (9-19)
1977- 1984 — CurgBelcher (17-46)
1975-1976 — Phil Johnson (4-13)
1972-1974 — Gordon Olsen (4-22)
1968-1971 — Unknown (0-38)
1965-1967 — Ted Taylor (9-15)
1960-1964 — Louis Mele (18-25-2)
1955-1959 — Leo Conk (25-15)
1954 — Unknown (2-2-1)
1951-1953 — Jack Woodbury (6-10-1)
1946-1950 — Frank W. Wright
1942-1945 — LeGrand Tea
1940-1941 — Unknown
1939 — Frank W. Wright
1932-1938 — Unknown (1-4-1)
1931 — Carl Davis (4-1-1)
1929-1930 — Unknown (8-2)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.