SPRINGVILLE The Springville Red Devils are going to face plenty of teams this year in which they don't match up with in size or athleticism.
But the coaching staff knows that, and is being realistic with the fact that the Red Devils are going to have to compensate for what they lack personnel wise by being better prepared, by having a better game plan and by being more fundamentally sound.
"If you don't match up well with people then you have to figure out ways to neutralize and deal with some of that, and that's how we'll coach them," first-year coach Scott Mitchell says of his rejuvenated squad.
Certainly, Springville has a coaching staff in place with the credentials to get a team prepared and to pass on plenty of instruction on fundamentals. As most everyone knows by now, Mitchell returns to his alma mater after a successful career as a college and NFL quarterback. But the Red Devils also have an impressive group of assistants. Former head coach Doug Bills will serve as defensive coordinator. Former Provo High coach and college assistant veteran Ed Larsen is the team's offensive coordinator. Former NFL lineman Junior Ioane is the new line coach.
"We've got good coaches who are good people and who are very knowledgeable about football," Mitchell said. "But we're only going to give these kids as much as they can handle and execute, and as much as they need to be successful on the field."
By no means is Mitchell trying to sell his team's chances short. In fact, he likes what he's been seeing so far on the field. He has several players who are dangerous in the open field, and Springville's offense will be geared at getting the ball into their hands as quickly as possible.
"We have a lot of good kids who are really buying into what we're trying to do and who are putting in the time to be successful. I like the competitiveness in them and I like the fight in them. I really think we're going to compete against anybody we play against," Mitchell said.
One of the keys to Springville's rebounding from last year's disappointing season will be its run defense. The Red Devils could struggle against teams that have a big offensive line and powerful runners. In other words, they're not likely to win many smash-mouth football games. It's also imperative, because the Red Devils are learning a new ball-control offense, that they don't get into a habit of playing catch-up. They need to stay in games early and play well late."I expect our players to run to the football, start every play strong and finish every play," Mitchell said.
Springville Red Devils prep football preview
COACH: A little over two decades ago Scott Mitchell led Springville to it's only state football championship. Now he returns to see if he can do the same as a head coach. As a quarterback at Utah he threw for nearly 9,000 yards and 69 touchdowns in three seasons. In 12 NFL seasons playing for Miami, Detroit, Baltimore and Cincinnati he threw for more than 15,000 yards and 95 touchdowns.
KEY PLAYERS: The Red Devils bring back quarterback Isaac Allred, who is a durable runner and a good short-range passer. He's expected to run an offense that will get the ball to returning running back Colton Ramon, and speedy receivers Mark DeWyze, Luke Frampton and Jordan Sumsion. Anchoring the defense and the line will be Cody Dennis, Kent Garfield, Jared Gordon, Thomas Eastman, Sabastian Lucio, Grant Hollister, Mark Foutz, Caleb Christen and Chase Larsen.
STRENGTHS: There's more enthusiasm, confidence and optimism in Springville's football program than there has been in years. Also, this is probably the best overall coaching staff the school has ever had. On the field, the Red Devils should have plenty of speed and balance in the skill positions to be much improved at moving the football.
QUESTION MARKS: Depth has hurt the Red Devils in recent years, and could be an issue again should a key player or two go down with an injury. There will also be a lot of players going both ways, which could test the team late in games. This team, because of its makeup and game plan, might struggle in games where it needs to play catch-up. The offensive and defensive lines are also among the smallest in the region.
LAST YEAR: 2-9, tied for fourth in region and lost play-in game to Payson.
PREDICTED FINISH: Fourth.
POSTSEASON POSSIBILITIES: If the Red Devils get off to a good start and remain healthy, they should grab the league's final playoff berth. However, they probably won't get past a tough first-round match-up.
Aug. 22 at Dixie, 7 p.m.
Aug. 28 at Lehi, 7 p.m.
Sept. 5 WASATCH, 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 PROVO, 7 p.m.
Sept. 19 at Salem Hills, 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 TOOELE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 at Orem, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 MOUNTAIN VIEW, 7 p.m.
Oct. 15 at Timpview, 7 p.m.Oct. 23 at Payson, 7 p.m.