High school football: Logan Grizzlies 2014 preview

Published: Saturday, Aug. 16 2014 11:15 p.m. MDT

Note: Logan finished with an 11-1 overall record in 2013 and was first in Region 5 with a 6-0 record. It lost to Olympus in the 4A quarterfinals.

LOGAN — It may be too early for Logan head coach Mike Favero to characterize the 2014 Grizzlies football team.

But that won’t impact the expectations the veteran coach has for the squad that will include plenty of new faces in the starting lineup.

“The expectation for every team is always to win the region,” Favero said. “I’m sure every team feels that way. … The beauty of high school is that there is turnover. You have different puzzle pieces every year, and each year’s team is trying to put that puzzle together.”

Other coaches and the media expect a lot out of this mostly new group of players. While the coaches saw them as the second-best team in Region 5, the Deseret News chose them as region champions.

Favero isn’t worried about preseason expectations — at all.

“Last year I think we were picked fourth in the preseason polls,” he said. “As coaches, you know preseason polls carry zero weight. They’re really just a compliment.”

The trick, he said, is making sure teenage players understand that rankings have no bearing on what happens on the field.

Favero has nine varsity starters returning this season, but he’ll be looking to fill key vacancies. One of the most noticeable spots will be at quarterback.

“If we played today, Kinkade Wildman would start for us,” Favero said. The senior played weak safety for the team last year, but he did play quarterback in the team’s last game of the season — a heartbreaking 23-21 quarterfinal loss to Olympus.

Wildman filled in after starting quarterback Chase Nelson was sidelined because of a penalty in the team’s first playoff game that penalized him an additional game. Wildman finished that game throwing 22 of 36 for 260 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, he also threw four interceptions.

But Wildman promises to help Logan continue to run an exciting, and sometimes unpredictable offense, because of his athleticism.

He’ll have two veteran targets at wide receiver in senior Chad Artist and junior Harman Rector.

Unlike many smaller 4A schools, most of Logan’s players do not play on both offense and defense.

“Just a handful of them,” Favero said of two-way players. “My personal take on playing two ways is that is taking 22 potential starting positions and reducing them to 11. It’s fewer spots to keep your players passionate and hungry.”

He also feels it’s difficult to run complex schemes when you ask players to be both offensive and defensive players.

“It’s trick scheme-wise,” he said. “How do you train a guy to be a two-way guy and get them to comprehend everything you’re teaching?”

Favero is looking forward to seeing how his team comes together this season.

One of the most satisfying aspects to watch is how players “collectively” compete and how each athlete tries to reach his potential. Student-athletes become standouts as the season progresses.

“You just give kids an opportunity to be the best they can be,” he said. “Ultimately, the film doesn’t lie. The better players usually rise to the occasion. And typically, they’re the kids who’ve worked hard.” Favero said most teams feel they work hard, but he bases his plan on science and said it’s designed to make individuals better, as well as the entire team.

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