Note: Wasatch finished with an 8-3 overall record in 2012 and was second in Region 10 with a 4-1 record. It lost to Bear River 36-6 in the 3A first round.
HEBER CITY — When Steve Coburn inherited a senior-laden Wasatch team that was very proficient at running the spread offense last summer, the veteran college and high school coach wisely didn’t try and tinker with the offense.
He recognized that an offensive shift could wait a year, and let assistant coach Craig Davis continue to call the offense. It proved to be a smart move as the Wasps had an excellent 8-3 season thanks in large part to tremendous success offensively.
All along though, Coburn planned on installing his preferred pro-style offense the following year.
The former Snow College coach believes his new offense gives Wasatch the best chance at being successful as the school makes the jump to 4A.
“We’re going to run what I ran at Snow, but we’re going to run it out of a pistol formation. It’s going to be inside and outside zone, and pro-style but out of a pistol instead of under center,” said Coburn
With only two returning starters offensively — and none on the offensive line — there will be a huge learning curve to not only the new classification, but the new offense.
“We’re excited about being 4A. We’re not backing down from anybody,” said Coburn. “I always wanted to coach at the highest level, and so when we got the chance to go 4A, personally and as a program and staff, we were excited about that. The whole school’s excited.”
Instead of trying to game plan for region foe Juan Diego — which it lost to 49-7 and 44-13 the past two years — Wasatch must now game plan for 4A champion Timpview.
Coburn said from an enrollment standpoint, Wasatch is getting big enough to compete with the Utah County teams in its new region, but the Wasps' depth is young depth.
“The depth is there for us, but it’s going to have to grow up real fast,” said Coburn.
It’s a big reason why Wasatch organized a 20-plus team 7-on-7 tournament earlier this summer — to expose those new starters to the fast-paced football they'll see every Friday night. As Coburn said, there are no easy games anymore.
Not only will the offense be new, but the defense is getting an overhaul as well with Rick Wilson taking over as defensive coordinator.
Wasatch was a decent defensive team last season when it faced middle-of-the-pack 3A teams, but blowouts losses to Juan Diego and Bear River in October revealed major soft spots.
Coburn believes the new defensive coach and a year in the weight room will help close that gap.
“We’ve spent a year in the weight room, so we’re a lot bigger and stronger. Last year I didn’t get here until August, so we didn’t have much time to get in the weight room,” said Coburn.
The strength and conditioning will help offensively as well, because the Wasps expect to be a run-first team.
“I think we’ll run the ball a little more than we did last year, so that will set up the pass a little bit better,” said running back Hunter Pella.
The senior only had 77 carries last year for 246 yards and three TDs, but much greater production is expected in 2013.