2013 high school football preview: Park City Miners turn to the past in hopes of creating a brighter future
Note: Park City finished with a 1-9 overall record in 2012 and was last in Region 10 with an 0-5 record. It did not qualify for the 3A playoffs.
PARK CITY — Park City’s defense resembled the SCLSU Mud Dogs last year — the pre-Bobby Boucher version. The Miners gave up 443 points — the highest total in the state — in only 10 games.
In an opening-week 53-0 loss to Spanish Fork the Miners were outgained 536-66 in total yards. The once highly competitive program had hit rock bottom, and it was very evident that a change was needed.
The answer: former coach Mike Shepherd. The reasoning: If he could pull the program from the depths of futility before, he can do it again.
Shepherd led the program to a 53-28 record from 1998-2004 after three previous coaches, including current Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen, posted losing records and a 9-37 overall record in five years.
At a recent practice, the transformation had already begun.
“I think the biggest thing is the kids need to believe that being a part of our program is something that is good for them — that they’re going to enjoy,” Shepherd said when asked what was needed to return the program to winning ways. “I do believe that the kids we have out here do feel that way and believe that. I think it’s one of those things that there’s an aura (that) kids either feed off it or feel it or they don’t. I think we have a good start. We have a long ways to go, but we have a good start.”
The program still has work to do before the season opener against 2A power South Summit. It's implementing entirely new schemes on both sides of the ball and remodeling bad habits that were formed over the past three years.
“We have to make sure we optimize our time,” Shepherd said. “We don’t necessarily run plays over and over again until they’re right; we make sure the kids understand that we have X amount of time and you’re under pressure learning these things and we’re not going backwards. Hopefully that concept sinks in and we get where we need to be.”
Regardless, Shepherd is confident in one thing:
“Our defense is going to be much better than people think it’s going to be,” he said. “I guarantee we’re not going to give up the most points in the state of Utah. That’s a guarantee.”
With realignment Park City should still be in the middle of the pack in the 3AA North, but that doesn’t mean Shepherd and Co. don’t believe otherwise.
“I’ll be honest without sounding too arrogant — I want to win every game. That’s not to say we’re going to, but I’m certainly not ever going to tell the kids, ‘If you play a good game then that’s success,’” Shepherd said. “That doesn’t mean playing a great game and losing isn’t success, because it is, but we’re going in with the mindset that we’re going to play hard against every team and we can beat anybody we play. We have to do our thing, and you just never know. I’ve played lots of games where we’ve beat teams we shouldn’t have and vise versa.”
Park City Miners at a glance
Coach: Mike Shepherd begins his second stint as the Park City head coach after a 53-28 record. He’s a graduate of Mission Bay High in California and San Diego State University.
(3 returning starters; hybrid-fly offense)