2013 high school football preview: Carbon Dinos hoping to overcome low preseason predictions

By Ryan Love

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 7 2013 9:10 p.m. MDT

Note: Carbon finished with a 1-9 overall record in 2012 and was last in Region 12 with an 0-5 record. It did not make the playoffs.

PRICE — Despite enduring a tough season in 2012, excitement and expectations remain high for the Carbon Dinos football program heading into 2013.

It's not going to be an easy season by any means, as Carbon is once again projected to finish last in Region 12, but fourth-year head coach Jeff Blanc refuses to let that intimidate him.

"Last year, we lost a lot of games. We lost three games specifically in the fourth quarter, and part of that was due to not enough depth. This year, I think we have a little bit more depth, and we're not going to have as many guys having to go both ways on the line," said Blanc. "I think that'll help us on the offensive side not to get so fatigued and have a breakdown on offense."

Despite losing his top contributor and go-to-guy, Jordan Blanc, who led the Dinos in rushing, receiving and tackles in 2012, coach Blanc isn't worried about what his team is going to do offensively to fill those big shoes.

"We're going to have five or six different guys that we are going to spread the ball to, and I think spreading that out a little more, we are going to be a tough team to stop offensively," said Blanc.

Carbon has a total of 13 returning starters — seven on offense and six on defense — to help keep the Dinos hopeful of accomplishing something they haven't done the past 12 seasons, making the playoffs.

"I think the significance in our returning starters is that we have four of them coming off the line who are all juniors, so we have a young line, but an experienced line," Blanc added. "We have high expectations for all of our returning starters. Last year left a bad taste in our mouth. Collectively, we are excited about this upcoming season. If we can stay injury-free, I think that we're going to be competitive in football games. I think we will be battling for a playoff spot this year."

Carbon opens up against Grand on Aug. 23, a rivalry that the Dinos hope to heat up this season.

There are several interesting storylines and changes Carbon has made this offseason, one being that it has decided to scratch the spread offense it ran last year, and switch to a more traditional split back and I-formation offense.

"We are going to look at maintaining some clock control. We're going to be running the ball more, and hopefully we will wear some teams out," said Blanc.

The Dinos have also shown more dedication and work ethic in their offseason training this year, hoping to become a more physical team.

"We have seen a lot more committment in the weight room in the offseason this year. We are seeing guys that are getting a lot stronger, and I think that it's starting to show right now as we're starting to practice," Blanc said.

"Our practices here have really shown some signs of growth, and I'm really happy with the progress we've made over the last year. Last year we kind of got our feet wet, but this year I think we're going to go out there and open up some good holes for our running game," added Blanc.

Replacing starting quarterback Dakota Cisneros, who threw for 1,393 yards with 13 TDs last season, will be no easy task, but Blanc believes junior quarterback Jarod Lessar will be ready to step up and perform.

"Lessar is going to step up and take the reins at the quarterback position. He's had a good offseason as well and he's worked hard on getting better with his footwork," Blanc said.