2013 high school football preview: Murray Spartans hope new football facilities help the team
Note: Murray finished with a 1-9 overall record in 2012 and was last in Region 7 with an 0-5 record. It did not qualify for the 4A playoffs.
MURRAY — When Brad Paisley sang, “You got to get a little mud on the tires,” he wasn’t referring to football practice.
However, the Murray football program recently sloshed through a muddy practice on a clear, sunny early afternoon. A poor aeration system flooded the adjacent practice field that has hand-painted lines on it, forcing players to dodge puddles deep enough to engulf their cleats.
Murray High's football facilities are in the midst of renovation with the installation of an au courant new turf that’s expected to be ready for use during the 2013 season.
“The field is going to make a huge difference,” Murray second-year coach Mike Richmond said. “I know people see it on Friday nights and it looks great, but when you’re out on the field that doesn’t have the greatest drainage system — we paint our field and don’t really have numbers and hashes — so when you’re trying to teach your offense and spread the field, landmarks become a huge thing.
“So, for us to have this facility going forward and you can come out in the spring and run routes and know where to line up on the hashes” will be nice, Richmond continued. "You’re limited to what you can do on a grass field and no lines. The difference is going to be made in the offseason when we can practice in inclement weather and have landmarks to learn our systems.”
After another losing season, focusing on the little details is important in a still relatively new system.
“Our 1-9 season last year I don’t think was indicative of the type of players we had. They went through a lot of changing with coaching staffs,” Richmond said. “Nothing bad about the type of kids we had, but we’ve got some kids that are really hungry and really eager. I expect us to definitely improve upon our record and if we stay healthy hopefully make some noise in region and see if we can get to postseason play.”
Typically, spectators forget that first-year coaches are adjusting to their new surroundings too. Now in his second year, Richmond feels like the coaching staff and players are both more comfortable.
“We’re getting there. We’re kind of going through our install on our offense, and it just feels like we’re so much further ahead than where we were a year ago,” Richmond said. “Learning from our mistakes last year as a new staff, I think the players are adjusted to what to expect now. We’ve really seen things come together and be a lot smoother this year.”
During a recent practice only 30 to 40 players were suited up during varsity time. The Spartans will be outnumbered in nearly every game this season, making depth an extreme concern.
“We don’t have a lot of guys. We probably have 85 kids in our entire program, so we don’t have 150 kids like a lot of the schools we’ll compete with,” Richmond said. “It’ll be important for us to keep those kids healthy. We’ll have a bunch of guys playing on both sides of the football, so fatigue can be an issue late in games”
Murray Spartans at a glance
Coach: Mike Richmond posted a 1-9 record in his debut high school coaching season. He’s a graduate of Reedley High in California and the University of Utah, where he played quarterback.
(2 returning starters; Multiple-set offense)
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