Note: Orem finished with a 3-8 overall record in 2010 and a 2-4 record in Region 7. It lost to Bountiful, 41-0, in the 4A first round.
OREM — Tyler Anderson isn't trying to be preachy nostalgic with his new team, he just has a ton of pride for Orem High School's football program.
He won a 4A state championship with Orem in 1987, and when the head coaching job at his alma mater came up at the end of last season, he jumped at the chance take it.
"It's always been a dream job to come back here and coach at Orem where I played," said Anderson.
The Orem High that Anderson remembers as a student has been torn down and replaced with a beautiful, modern school. Even the bleachers and press box at the stadium are new, but Anderson said the grass on the football field is still the same.
He believes with enough hard work, Orem can get back to competing for state titles on that same field.
"I'm trying to get the kids to understand the pride that Orem has had and needs to have again," said Anderson. "I think the kids have grasped hold of it and understand it. The biggest thing is the mental part of it and understanding that they can compete and play with anybody, which is the way we were when we were in high school."
Anderson said the goal every year is to win a state championship, and this year is no different. At the same time, he admits you have to be realistic about building a program. Orem has been good for the past decade, but not great, hovering around six or seven wins each year.
The program dropped off a bit more last year, but returning starting running Kaleb Egbert believes Anderson can get the program headed in the right direction.
"He's talked a lot about how Orem was in the old days and how everybody was working hard, and we're trying to get that back and get it back to the way it was in the '80s and '90s," said Egbert, a returning starter at linebacker.
Egbert is one of five returning starters on defense.
Offensively, Egbert will be taking on a much bigger role at running back in the spread offense. Egbert carried the ball sparingly a year ago, but Anderson expects big things from him this year.
"We're really going to look for him to be a leader. He's going to be a senior, and he's going to have to help out and help the new guys," said Anderson.
The offensive line blocking for Egbert is going to be virtually brand new, while quarterback Taylor Camp was a part-time contributor last year. The junior only attempted 47 passes a year ago, completing 27 for 326 yards.
"He's grasping the offense we're running now. I think he'll be a good quarterback for us and take charge and get the kids where they need to be," said Anderson. "The biggest thing right now, he's got to read defenses a little better on the passing game. He kind of locks in sometimes."
That was obviously a bit of a problem as well last year with six interceptions and zero touchdowns.
Overall, Anderson said it was a good summer for the Tigers, and they're ready for the season to get underway. Their padded camp went well, their scrimmage with Westlake went well, and now it's all about getting the season started on a positive note at Herriman on Aug. 19.
Orem Tigers at a glance
Coach: This Tyler Anderson's first year as head coach at his alma mater. He was an assistant coach at Westlake in 2010. Prior to that he was a head coach at Harmony High in Florida for four years compiling a 23-24 record. Before that he was a head coach at Tooele from 2000 to 2003, finishing with a 28-17 record and leading Tooele to a state title in 2002.
(3 returning starters; Spread offense)
Orem was the fourth-lowest scoring team in 4A last year, but coach Anderson is ditching the conservative offense for the spread, an offense he's has been successful with just about everywhere he's been. A lot of this year's success rests on how quickly junior QB Camp picks up the offense, and how well Egbert runs the ball while also serving as the heart of Orem's defense. The offensive line is a work in progress as well with Reinhard Gaul as the only player who returns with any experience.
(5 returning starters)
Along with Egbert, Orem's linebacking corps could be a strength with Michael Mua and Elia Jennings manning those positions. Junior defensive end Joe Jensen has great strength and a great motor, and is someone who could end up playing collegiately somewhere. Orem's secondary will be led by Brandon Paulos and Brady Call.
Coaches preseason Region 8 straw poll: Fifth
Deseret News Region 8 prediction: Sixth
Bottom line: Orem's new coach is doing all the right things to get the program headed in the right direction. It's not going to be a quick fix. When Anderson was a student in the late '80s Orem was one of the bigger schools in the state. Now it's one of the smaller 4A schools. Anderson said the first-string guys are pretty good, but after that there's a big drop off. If the Tigers can stay healthy, they should be in the running for one of the four playoff spots from Region 8.
Aug. 19 — at Herriman, 7 p.m.
Aug. 26 — EAST, 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 — LEHI, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 — PROVO, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 — at Salem Hills, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 — SPRINGVILLE, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 — TIMPVIEW, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 — at Mountain View, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 — at Maple Mountain, 7 p.m.
Oct. 19 — TIMPANOGOS, 7 p.m.