The Wolverines are going to run the ball. Then they'll run again. And again.
There's no secret behind Hunter's offense this year. The school is bringing back its I-formation and grinding out every game. Its workhorses: Hyrum Purcell, his 5-foot-10 frame directed north and south; Nathan Uhi and Valu Kupu both running to the edges, trying their best to match carries.
"We want to be fresh. This is 'Tailback High,'" said head coach Scott Henderson. "It was known as 'Tailback High' and we're bringing it back. We've got a good stable of backs and we're not going to be greedy."
Henderson returns to the Wolverines after helping them win a state championship as a defensive coordinator in 2003. His arrival at the program's helm - along with a return to the school's grind-it-out, smash-mouth roots - signals what the program hopes to be an era of stability.
Les Hamilton left for Pleasant Grove after a lone season of middling spread offense. After that, the school endured a false start from Tim Murphy, one that saw the former Clovis East (Calif.) coach leave Utah for family reasons after just one weekend.
"It's really hard," Purcell said. "Just with the seniors now, we've been through, what, at least four coaches?"
At the same time, players insist the turnover has made them stronger as a unit. Now, with a familiar offense, they're eager to forget a disappointing season that saw them finish fourth in their region.
"This (scheme) is what we started with, and this is how we're going to go out," said senior quarterback Shawn Scanlan.
LAST YEAR: 3-7, lost in first round to Lone Peak.KEY RETURNER: Hyrum Purcell, senior, running back/linebacker. Rushed for over 700 yards last year, and should be a focal point as team returns to I-formation.PLAYER TO WATCH: Mitchell McKnight, senior, wide receiver/defensive back. He's not the biggest or most athletic target on the roster - that would be tight end Jagger Wall, who doubles as defensive tackle - but coaches and teammates said McKnight could carve out a niche role. BIGGEST HOLE: Kicker. Hunter doesn't have a dependable one, so expect some two-point formations.NEED TO KNOW: Hunter is talking a big game considering lackluster results in recent years, but players said they are more comfortable with the I-formation. Switching back after a year in the spread won't necessarily mean less throwing either: Quarterback Shawn Scanlan said playcalling last fall was split 80-20 in favor of run plays, and he expects a similar breakdown.SEASON OPENER: Visits Layton. Aug. 17 @ 7 p.m.
Previous postsJuly 25: Introduction/Riverton
Jack Wangjwang@sltrib.comTwitter: @thejackwang