ENTERPRISE — When a team loses every region game, something has to change.
“We raised expectations,” said Enterprise head football coach Malin Williams. “Last year, I was a brand-new coach, as far as head coaching and football, and I was maybe a little bit timid. This year, the expectation that we’ll work hard is much higher.” In raising expectations, Williams said his team has set some lofty goals, including one that may seem like pie in the sky.
“One of our team goals is to host a play-in game,” he said. “I believe it’s a very real possibility.” Williams believes that even after a summer in which he lost several veteran players to injuries, moves and other sports, his team is ahead of where it was at this point last season in many ways.
“We feel like we’re significantly more ahead in team unity, team spirit and team chemistry,” he said. “We’re working harder and as a staff, we’re more unified. Simply put, we’re just demanding that everyone execute at a higher level.”
Williams isn’t asking for perfection. But he is asking for dedication.
“If somebody isn’t working hard and I see it, then we’re going to be doing some kind of sprint or pushups.”
Williams' confidence comes from the effort his players have given him, despite some adversity and inexperience.
“Our region is a very tough region,” he said. “But I feel we can be competitive in every game.”
He said the team usually gets about 40 to 50 percent of its players to participate in summer conditioning, and not only does he feel good about the numbers, he feels good about the effort.
“We made some progress in multiple areas,” he said.
Last year, Williams changed the team’s offense from the spread to the wing-T. He’s sticking with that and said it gives his team the best chance for success.
“I feel like the faith (comes from) hard work and executing the offense as a team,” he said. “We work hard mentally and physically, and we’ll simply become better at executing.”
The team’s unexpected losses mean there is some uncertainty about who some of the starters will be. He believes one critical piece of the team that is progressing nicely is the offensive line. Senior Roberto Jardon will play center for the team, and juniors David Koller and Jesse Williams will likely be relied on as guards.
He said coaches also feel good about the play of senior Dallin Holt at tight end.
The biggest question mark may be the team’s defense.
“Right now we have a long ways to go,” he said. “We are less-experienced. We spent so much time on offense last year, and we felt like we made significant improvements. We’ve spent less time on defense, but we’re working to fix that at the present.”
Sophomore Joey Paine is already a promising lineman and Connor Phelps should be a playmaker for the Wolves in their secondary.
In addition to raising expectations, Williams said he hopes the players buy into a culture that asks them to put the team first, even if that means not being recognized as an individual.
“I expect them to work hard for little recognition,” he said
Regardless of rankings or region alignments, Williams isn’t worried about anything other than how he can help his student-athletes become better — on and off the field.
“I want them be better people,” he said. “Football in and of itself is a great game. But it’s not enough. If we’re not becoming better people, we’re not doing our jobs.”
Enterprise Wolves at a glance
Coach: Malin Williams enters his second season as head coach of Enterprise. The team went 3-6 in his first season and didn’t make the playoffs. He is a graduate of Enterprise, SUU and BYU.
(6 returning starters; wing-T)
Williams is committed to the change he made last year in the team’s offense. Success begins with the offensive line, which will be anchored by senior center Roberto Jardon. Junior guards David Koller and Jesse Williams give the team a solid, athletic group. Senior Dallin Holt will lead the team’s skill players at tight end.
(6 returning starters)
While this has always been one of the program’s strengths, youth and inexperience make defense one of the Wolves’ biggest questions. So much of the focus was on learning the new offense that the team is now shifting focus to executing on defense. Sophomore Joey Paine looks good on the defensive line and Conner Phelps is a promising playmaker in the team’s secondary.
The Wolves have a lot of unknowns. With injuries and losses to family moves, positions are being decided every day at practice. Williams hopes the discipline and raised expectations will bring an attention to detail that sometimes the team has lacked, even before he took over. The team has talent, but with 36 players, staying healthy throughout the season will be a major factor, especially in light of offseason losses. The Wolves are working harder and smarter, and they hope the reward at the end is hosting a playoff game on their home field.
Enterprise coaching history
2012-current — Malin Williams (3-6)
2007-2011 — Barry Jones (30-23)
2005-2006 — Scott Robinson (15-10)
2004 — Dustin Pearce (8-4)
2000-2003 — Randy Hunter (32-13)
1999 — Chris Anderson (2-7)
1997-1998 — Spencer Moody (5-13)
Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years
2003 — Kody Phelps, RB
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2011 — Ryan West, RB/LB
2011 — Sage Palmer, WR/DB
2010 — Slade Moyle, QB/DB
2010 — Jade Hulet, RB/LB
2009 — Robert Hunt, WR/LB
2009 — Ryan Jones, WR/LB
2009 — Travis Colf, OL/DL
2008 — Kevin Cervantes, RB/LB
2007 — Trevor Colf, WR/DB
2007 — Chance Phelps, RB/DB
2006 — Brian Cates, OL/DL
2006 — Dallin Clove, TE/LB
2005 — Sam Fenn, RB/LB
2005 — Dallin Clove, TE/DL
2005 — Brian Cates, OL/DL
2005 — Jerron Evans, WR/DB
2004 — Lance Jones, RB
2004 — Sam Fenn, RB
2004 — Blake Holt, OL
2003 — Kyle Carter, DL
2003 — Lance Jones, RB/LB
2003 — Kody Probst, DL
2003 — Kyle Woodard, RB/DB
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
Twitter: adonsports Email: email@example.com
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company