2013 high school football preview: Young Tooele Buffaloes looking to build off learning experiences
Note: Tooele finished with a 1-9 overall record in 2012 and was sixth in Region 11 with a 1-5 record. It did not qualify for the playoffs.
TOOELE — It’s been six years since Tooele’s football program had a winning record, but coach Kyle Brady believes the program is on the up and up finally.
Despite winning just one game in 2012, there were subtle positives throughout the obvious struggles. First and foremost was the experience gained by the young players in the program.
“I’m pretty excited about this year. We’re still pretty young. We’ll probably only play four or five seniors, maybe a few more. We had a lot of juniors play last year as sophomores, so we have quite a bit of experience back, but albeit young experience,” said Brady.
Secondly, the freshman and junior varsity teams both posted winning 5-4 records a year ago, victories the program desperately needed to build some confidence heading into the offseason.
Brady hopes the improved mentality leads to more success as the Buffaloes embark on new challenges in the revamped 3AA.
Another reason for the tempered optimism is an improved understanding of the Wing-T offense. In Brady’s first year as Tooele coach back in 2011, the Buffaloes went 0-10 and Brady decided an offensive overhaul was necessary. He believed the Wing-T gave the program the best shot at future success, but there was an obvious learning curve in 2012.
A year later, all of Tooele’s projected offensive starters have a full year of Wing-T experience, which could help immensely.
“After going back and looking at our film, we just have a few guys that need to clean up blocking and where to hit the holes. Hopefully we can change those little 2- or 3-yard plays and pop some bigger ones where we’re getting 8, 9 or 10 yards where we’re hitting the hole on the outside instead of the inside, (and) the lineman coming over to pick up inside guy instead of outside guy,” said Brady.
If his players make the necessary strides, there’s probably only two games on the 2013 schedule that Tooele will be an obvious underdog in.
Another potential benefit to a more efficient offense is a better defense. Tooele allowed more than 37 points per game last season, but Brady said that stat is a bit deceiving because the offense routinely put the defense in bad spots because of turnovers.
Defense should be Tooele’s strength this year, thanks in large part to a strong core of defensive linemen.
“Our inside guys will be our strength. We have eight guys on the D tackles who can play. Hopefully they can keep guys off our linebacker so we can run around,” said Brady.
Another strength defensively is Andrew Spendlove. Tooele’s leading tackler a year ago, Spendlove is moving from middle linebacker to outside linebacker in hopes of using his athleticism to make even more plays on the edges.
“I expect him to be the leader of our team and vocally make sure kids are in the right spots,” said Brady.
The rest of the linebacking corps is relatively unproven, but Brady’s optimistic the talent is there to fill those holes.