PLAIN CITY If you're a die-hard Fremont football fan and you attended the Silver Wolves' first-round playoff loss to Bingham last October, you'll hardly recognize your team this fall.
The uniforms are the same but that's about it. The Silver Wolves have a new coach, a new offense, and 20 new starters this season.
Former Weber coach Kory Bosgieter was named Fremont's new head coach in March. He replaces Blaine Monkres, who left the school to become Dixie's head football coach. Bosgieter is a proven winner, having led Weber to a state 4A championship in 1999.
Bosgieter coached the secondary and special teams the last three years at Fremont and he inherits a team that returns two offensive starters and zero defensive starters. He knows his team isn't as loaded with talent as some other teams in Region 1 or the favorite to win the league championship. But he is extremely pleased with the effort his players have given during the offseason.
"The strength of this team will be how we prepare," Bosgieter said. "I wish I could say I got this guy coming back with this many yards or he's thrown this many completions or he's caught this many touchdowns. But these guys aren't afraid to work."
He believes the team's strong work ethic will help it make up for its lack of varsity experience.
"We worked their guts out this summer," Bosgieter said. "If you go through stuff together, you kind of pull together."
That strategy has worked on the players, who say they're more tight-knit than past Fremont teams.
"Last year we played more as individuals," said Mike Kilts, a slot back/linebacker. "This year we got guys who play more together."
Players being counted on to pull the Silver Wolves together are running back Chad Richins and lineman Ryan Shaw, the team's two returning starters. Richins is a hard-nosed runner whose abilities helped Bosgieter decide to balance the offense. Shaw started six games last season.
Cameron Hadley is Fremont's new starting quarterback. He won't get to work his arm out as much as past Silver Wolves quarterbacks on Friday nights. Rather than throwing the ball 50 times a game in a spread offense, Fremont will attempt to have more balance by running the ball with Richins and other quality backs.
Fremont's defense will be the same as in past years, as defensive coordinator Ross Arnold is still with the team. Although no starters return on the unit, opponents can still expect it to be tough and scrappy.
"We may not be the biggest team but we're going to play hard," Kilts said.
Bosgieter, who seemingly had an endless supply of energy at a practice last week, said effort is one thing that won't change about the Silver Wolves this season."I like how we're coming together as a team," he said. "It's not the best players that win games. It's the best teams."
Fremont Silver Wolves 2008 prep football preview
COACH: Kory Bosgieter is Fremont's new coach, and just the second head coach in school history. He is a proven winner as a head coach, having led Weber to a state championship in 1999. He was the Warriors' head coach for nine years, and also worked as an assistant coach at Snow College.
KEY PLAYERS: Fremont returns some talented players, but they are unproven on the varsity level. (RB) Chad Richins and (OL) Ryan Shaw are the only players returning with extensive varsity experience. Other players being counted on to lead the team are (QB) Cameron Hadley, (CB/WR) Tanner Wayment and (SB/LB) Mike Kilts.
QUESTION MARK: There are several of them with the team lacking in experience and running a new offense. The biggest one is how will the untested players fare under the Friday night lights?
LAST YEAR: 7-5, lost in the first round of the playoffs
PREDICTED REGION 1 FINISH: Sixth
POSTSEASON POSSIBILITIES: If the Silver Wolves finish where they were picked in Region 1 (sixth) they'll miss the playoffs. Although Fremont is inexperienced, it shouldn't be counted out of the postseason. The Silver Wolves should contend for one of the region's final playoff berths. Advancing past the first round, however, is unlikely.
*Aug. 22 vs. Sky View, 7 p.m.
Aug. 29 at Mountain Crest, 7 p.m.
Sept. 5 BINGHAM, 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 LAYTON, 7 p.m.
Sept. 19 at Northridge, 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 at Viewmont, 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 WEBER, 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 DAVIS, 7 p.m.
Oct. 15 at Syracuse, 7 p.m.
Oct. 24 at Clearfield, 7 p.m.
*at Utah State