Note: Brighton finished with a 12-2 overall record in 2013 and was second in Region 3 with a 4-1 reocrd. It lost to Bingham 38-13 in the 5A championship.
COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — Ryan Bullett is not quite sure his offense will be clicking until about Week 6.
But the Bengals lost all five offensive linemen and their tight end, and the head coach knows it will take time to find the rhythm that took them to Rice-Eccles Stadium last November.
“It’s going to be a learning process,” Bullett said. “I think we’re going to score some points and we’ll be pretty good on defense, but there’s a lot of inexperience and youth on the offensive line.”
That being said, the players leading the show at Brighton do offer a great deal of know-how, particularly in the area of playing through inexperience. These upperclassmen were in the championship game last season and they know how much work it took to get there.
“You kind of put it all in perspective,” Bullett said of the 2013 playoff run. “Obviously, it was nice getting there, it was fun getting there, the kids were excited, it did a lot for the program, but we also know how hard it was to get there — and that was such a long process building. The groundwork was laid a couple of years earlier when we started a lot of those guys as sophomores. A couple of years earlier we took some lumps building up to that.”
Masina was one of those players who contributed as an underclassman. Now entering his senior season, the running back and linebacker continues to make a great impact wherever he is on the field.
“Everybody knows who Osa is. He’s a load back there,” Bullett said. “He’s about 15 pounds heavier than last year. At 6 foot 4, 230 and carrying the ball, he’s tough to tackle and he’s pretty unblockable at linebacker. He’s a matchup problem for offensive linemen.”
Masina also has a knack for involving other kids in the game — and raising their level of play.
“The one thing Osa does is he plays at such a high level, I think it raises a lot of other kids’ levels,” Bullett said. “They do play better than they are. I have seen that happen now for a couple of years with the kids that are playing with him.”
The coach added that Masina’s attention-grabbing abilities are cause to spread the ball around more than Brighton did a season ago.
“Last year everyone was keying on Osa. It was, you stop Osa, you’ve got a good chance of stopping us,” Bullett said. “We’re going to throw the ball a little bit more than we had to last year. We’re not as big up front, we do have some pretty good skill kids out there and they need to learn to work together.”
That brings junior quarterback Jensen into the mix. An all-around athlete, Jensen is difficult to keep off the field.
“He broke his hand halfway through last season,” Bullett said. “We moved him to receiver, he had surgery and didn’t miss a beat, didn’t miss a game.”
The 6-foot-2 utility player just moved to wherever the team needed him at the moment.
“He can play quarterback, he can play tailback, he can play receiver, he can play free safety, corner, DB, he can play linebacker, plus he’s our punter,” Bullett said. “He’s a pretty multi-talented kid; he’s a super athlete.”