CEDAR CITY There are some football programs in the state where winning has been virtually impossible no matter who's in charge. One of those programs is Canyon View, a school that hit rock bottom with an 0-9 record in 2007.
Alex Huxford might be the man to turn things around.
Not only does the first-year coach bring a good resume to the program having spent the last 10 years coaching in Idaho, but he believes kids are kids and they put the socks on the same way.
With hard work, he sees no reason why Canyon View can't be a winning program.
"There's no where else to go but up," Huxford said. "What it's going to take is commitment and consistency, and that's from the kids, from the coaching staff, the administration and the community."
So far things have been great according to Huxford. Team camp in the summer went well, and the players have come out in record numbers. In fact, when Huxford recently handed out uniforms the team ran out.
"That's a good problem to have," he said.
Not only will the team be larger, but the Falcons won't resemble their old self whatsoever either. Canyon View ran the Wing-T under former coach Randy Hunter, but Huxford isn't a fan of that run-oriented offense.
"If you're not bigger than the people you play, you can't line up and run over them, you have to mix it up a little," Huxford said.
Canyon View will run a pro-set offense under Huxford, and he's hoping for a balance of 50-50 with the run and the pass. He acknowledges that passing that much this year might be tough while the players familiarize themselves with the offense, but he's committed to getting there.
At team camp this summer Huxford scripted most of the plays to demonstrate to the players he was serious about passing the ball a lot.
Gentry Julian, a running back a year ago, will get the starting nod at quarterback.
"When I saw him throw I just knew he was the guy. He's not real big but he gives us a run threat when we roll out and we're on the edges," Huxford said. "He has amazing football savvy for someone that's never played the position at the varsity level."
A baseball player, Julian has a good throwing arm and should excel in Huxford's offense.
The area of concern is on the offensive line. The returning lineman, whether they're juniors or seniors, are used to run blocking in the Wing-T. Pass protection is a completely different beast.
"I'm a little concerned about the offensive line. To learn a new scheme is harder on them than anyone," Huxford said.
Zack Eckhardt is one of the key guys on the offensive and defensive line, someone the team will count on a lot this year.
Canyon View should have two tailbacks to lean on this year, senior Tyler Bateman and junior Shane Hughes. Bateman made a big impression at summer camp by not fumbling the ball once, whereas Hughes is the first player on the team.Bateman is the No. 1 tailback heading into the season, but he'll also start at linebacker which should create plenty of rushing opportunities for Hughes.
Canyon View Falcons prep football preview
COACH: First-year coach Alex Huxford spent the last five years as head coach at Bonneville High School in Idaho Falls. Prior to that, the Southern Utah graduate was an assistant in Idaho for five years.
KEY PLAYERS: Coming off a winless season and trying to learn an entirely new offense, how well Canyon View does this season may hinge on how quickly quarterback Gentry Julian picks things up this year. A running back a year ago, he has a strong arm which should help with the transition. Two of his top receiver threats will be Brian Taylor and Carpenter. Taylor was a very skilled kicker as well, someone who should be able to boot the ball into the endzone on kickoffs the majority of the time. AJ Cozzens will start at free safety and will call the plays for the defense.
QUESTION MARK: Even though the numbers are up at Canyon View this year, depth is still a concern for coach Huxford entering the season. The Falcons will have to avoid injuries to be successful. The offensive line is another area of concern as they try and adjust to a completely new offense.
LAST YEAR: 0-9, missed the playoffs.
PREDICTED REGION 9 (3A) FINISH: Third
POSTSEASON POSSIBILITIES: Hurricane and Cedar should each be very good this year, which will make qualifying for the playoffs a tough test for Canyon View.
Aug. 22 at Park City, 7 p.m.
Aug. 29 EMERY, 7 p.m.
Sept. 5 at Millard, 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 Bye
Sept. 19 PINE VIEW, 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 at Dixie, 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 DESERT OASIS, NEV., 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 at Hurricane, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 DESERT HILLS, 7 p.m.Oct. 24 CEDAR, 7 p.m.