OREM — Orem football has been on a steady rise since Tyler Anderson became head coach in 2011.
In Anderson’s third year, the Tigers are predicated to rise to the top of newly formed Region 7.
Region coaches dubbed Orem the preseason favorite in a straw poll — a designation not familiar to a program that has lived in the long shadow of Timpview for the last decade and a half.
“We have some expectations here, but our own expectations are what matters and we feel we have a chance to be a good football team,” Anderson said. “It’s a tough, new region, so we’re going to have to improve and strive to be better every week to win region. But that’s certainly our goal.”
Timpview stayed in Region 8, while Orem will take on familiar foes, such as Timpanogos and Mountain View, along with relatively unfamiliar foes, such as Olympus and Skyline, in Region 7.
“It’s an interesting region and we’re excited to take on some Salt Lake teams,” Anderson said. “I think Skyline and Olympus are great programs. Murray has been down a bit, but they should be better. And then Corner Canyon, that‘s a complete unknown there. I‘m just glad we‘re hanging on to rivalries against Timpanogos and Mountain View.”
Orem simply wants to keep improving, as it’s done in each year Anderson has been coaching. In 2011 it made the playoffs, and last season it made the quarterfinals before being bounced by Highland.
So, what’s the next step?
“We want to get to Rice-Eccles and be there at the end. That’s the goal right now,” Anderson said. “I like how we’ve kept improving and I think we have enough guys returning in key spots that we could exceed what we’ve done in the last two seasons.”
Nolan Gray, who led the state in receiving last season, will be front and center in Orem’s spread offense, which has been one of the state’s most prolific. Gray tallied a state-high 1,514 receiving yards to go along with 83 receptions and 17 touchdowns.
“Nolan is a great receiver and a team leader for us,” Anderson said. “We know that if we need a play, we can get him the ball. He’s a bigger guy. He’s real good in the air, but he’s also a lot faster than people realize. He’s set to have another big year and has worked hard to improve.”
The big question mark on offense is at quarterback, where Anderson will have to replace Taylor Camp, who threw for 3,480 yards last season.
“Right now it looks to be Taylor’s brother Tucker, who is just a junior, but he’s looked real good working out and he’s learning the offense really well,” Anderson said. “We haven’t completely decided who will start yet, but I think Tucker is doing well and I’m confident he can be the guy.”
“We feel comfortable with Tucker and we’re confident he’s going to be the guy,” said Gray. “We have a great group of receivers, a great running back and a solid offensive line, so yeah, we’re ready to go and I think we could have a real good year and make a run for the championship.”
On defense the Tigers look strong up front, but have some question marks in the secondary.
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