Two-a-days: Cottonwood football preview
There's been changes almost too numerous to list for the Cottonwood football program since April. But the Colts are focusing on the constants.
The most important constant for Cottonwood is this: 10 of 11 starters on offense last year will be back.
"We know the offense will be OK," senior receiver Inoke Lotulelei says. "We're going to put up a lot of points."
Of all the question marks the Colts face, the offense seems like the safest bet. Led by Alabama-committed quarterback Cooper Bateman, featuring BYU-bound Lotulelei and Utah commit Siale Fakailuatonga, the personnel could be the most talented group in the state.
The group worked closely with departed coordinator Scott Cate, who designed the attack that netted Bateman 2,484 passing yards, Lotulelei 1,184 receiving yards and running back Gabe Hosea nearly 1,400 yards on the ground. Though Cate is gone after a new Granite School District policy excluded him from coaching, new coach Greg Croshaw says it's in the team's best interest to keep the playbook as intact as possible.
Led by his son, T.D. Croshaw who was a quarterback at Utah, the staff has tried to learn the terminology and plays the returners are already accustomed to using. At Dixie State, Greg Croshaw was know for the power running game. Here, he hopes to maintain a high-powered passing attack.
"Our number one priority is to change as little as possible in our first year," he says. "When you have the talent we do, you can run that kind of system. We want these guys to be as comfortable as possible."
That's music to the ears of the players, who have a fair bit of confidence headed into the season.
"We don't think we're going to drop off at all," Bateman says. "We've had a good program for years now. It's tough to lose coaches, but coaches aren't going to go out and win the game for us."
LAST YEAR: 5-5, lost in first round to NorthridgeKEY RETURNER: Cooper Bateman, senior, quarterback. It's hard to pick just one, but the tall, strong-armed Bateman is the key to this offense. Almost everything the Colts do is set up by the threat of his passing ability, which has been further honed by visiting top prospect camps this summer.PLAYER TO WATCH: Tejon Reeves, junior, wide receiver. Inoke Lotulelei, himself one of the most prolific receivers in state history, says this lanky junior could be Cottonwood's next big threat.BIGGEST HOLE: As good as the offense is, last year the Colts' passing defense was a sieve. Croshaw is a respected defensive coach, but getting a late start on his tenure can't help too much.NEED TO KNOW: As they were last year, Cottonwood will be in a lot of shootouts. They'll be battling Jordan, Alta and Brighton at the top of the region, but could struggle to make stops.SEASON OPENER: Visits Logan. Aug. 24 @ 7 p.m.
Previous postsJuly 25: Introduction/Riverton
July 26: Hunter/Park City
July 27: Kearns/Copper Hills
July 28: Davis/Juan DiegoJuly 30: Olympus/Judge Memorial
July 31: Alta/Grantsville
Aug. 1: Westlake/West Jordan
Aug. 2: Layton/Hillcrest
Aug. 3: Jordan/Lone Peak
Aug. 4: Viewmont/Stansbury
Aug. 6: Lehi/Cyprus
Aug. 7: Woods Cross/Syracuse
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon