2013 high school football preview: Altamont Longhorns' new coach, offensive coordinator to revamp program

By Ryan Love

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Aug. 8 2013 12:45 a.m. MDT

James Edward

Note: Altamont finished with a 5-7 overall record in 2012 and was fourth in the 1A North region with a 1-3 record. It lost to Rich 40-14 in the 1A semifinals.

ALTAMONT — Coming off a tough semifinal loss to Rich last season, Altamont has decided to go in a new direction with a new head coach and a new offensive coordinator.

Anthony Wilcox will be in charge on the sidelines, while the Longhorns have introduced 10-year veteran Merlin Rasmussen, who spent 10 seasons coaching as an assistant at Union, as their new offensive coordinator.

"It'll be a nice addition. He's been coaching our younger seventh- and eighth- graders, but he's going to step up and help coach high school. So it'll be nice to have him. This is only my second year coaching, so it'll be nice to have that kind of experience to lean on," said Wilcox.

After losing top rusher Kyle Foy, who carried the ball 291 times for 1,854 yards and 17 TDs in 2012, Altamont wants to throw the ball more.

With only four starters and two seniors returning, replacing a dominant, go-to guy like Foy is no easy task, and Wilcox is well aware of the challenge.

"He was a huge part of our offense. I bet 70 percent of our offense went through him, so obviously it's hard to replace a workhorse like that," Wilcox said. "We got his younger brother (Rylee), so hopefully he wants to fill in his footsteps."

Because of the significant loss to its running game, Altamont has vocalized its plan to air out the ball more this season.

"We will do a lot of stuff out of the I formation, but we would like to throw the ball more. I mean, we've been predominantly a 80-90 percent run team, so we'd like to throw the ball a little bit more to prevent people from bringing nine, 10 people in the box and trying to stop the run," added Wilcox. "We're not going to completely reinvent the wheel. We've mostly got the same kids, so we want to keep the same type of system in place, but just try to throw the ball a little bit more."

The Longhorns will hand the reins of the quarterback position to senior Dillon Lindsay, who has yet to see much action on the field. Lindsay has only attempted 12 passes thus far, completing none and giving up two picks in his high school career.

Despite having a fairly young team with only two returning seniors, experience isn't much of an issue for Altamont. Most of the sophomores and juniors on the team have seen some, if not significant, varsity playing time.

"It's good to have those people who have been in the program who have varsity experience, just because that level of playing at varsity is a lot different than playing at the JV level," Wilcox explained.

Top returning contributors for the Longhorns will include senior Lindsay (QB/CB), and juniors Rylee Foy (LB/RB), Slayton Thompson (RB/LB) and Talon Gines (OL/DL).

Along with a new coaching staff, quarterback and running back, the Altamont Longhorns are looking to change up their tempo and approach to the game.

"A big thing, too, is just our tempo of practice. We're hopefully going to have a more up-tempo pace to the game, so as a result, we have been trying to implement that in practice. More reps, less time in between plays — things like that — to try to implement a higher-speed offense. But really, just the main thing is trying to get kids in the weight room, kids in the summer, kids committed to running, and commitment from them longer term," added Wilcox.

When asked about his expectations for this upcoming season, Wilcox still wasn't sure just what to expect.