The Cavemen are going aerial this fall.
After two years of running head coach Aaron Behm's triple option, American Fork will be switching to a West Coast offense. Offensive coordinator Mike Empey, who worked mostly with the offensive line next year, will take over playcalling duties.
"We're gonna be a fast football team," Behm said. "We have a little more athleticism than we've had in the past."
After finding out about the change in December, the Cavemen have expressed almost universal enthusiasm for the new system. While there were some growing pains as the team transitioned, many players are excited by the prospect of scoring more points out of more deceptive formations.
It doesn't hurt that American Fork should have the pieces for a fast-paced attack. A deep group of wide receivers includes junior Jonah Trinnaman, who placed fourth in the 100-meter dash at the 5A championships and also runs a 40 in 4.50 seconds.
"We have a lot of good receivers on this team and we have lots of depth (there)," said linebacker Colby Smith. "It's not the triple option where we rely on a bunch of beefy running backs."
Gone are lead tailbacks Silas Olsen and Tyler Belliston, but Behm is still expecting production out of the backfield. One player expected to help fill the void is Blake Harmon, who broke the school power clean record but can run a 40-yard dash in 4.60 seconds. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior will retain his duties at safety while seeing time at fullback.
LAST YEAR: 5-6, lost in first round to Viewmont.KEY RETURNER: Colby Smith, senior, outside linebacker. One of three returning starters on defense and helps anchor an athletic pass rush.PLAYER TO WATCH: Chris Boone, senior, wide receiver/defensive end. One of the anchors on the defensive line, Boone's size could make him a nightmare matchup at wideout. BIGGEST HOLE: Unsettled at quarterback. Tyler Brimhall likely would have returned as a starter for his senior season if not for labrum surgeries on both shoulders. Tight three-way competition includes Riley Smith, who started one game last year as a sophomore, junior Jacen Condie and Spanish Fork transfer Jeremiah Evans.NEED TO KNOW: American Fork has shown incremental improvements in two years under Behm. Giving up his triple option offense could help build on the Cavemen's first playoff appearance in four years.SEASON OPENER: Visits Cedar City. Aug. 17 @ 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
Aug. 8: Cottonwood
Jack Wangjwang@sltrib.comTwitter: @thejackwang