You know things are a little uncertain when one of the biggest rebuilding projects in a run-oriented wishbone attack is the running backs.
Still, the Rich Rebels are coming off an 8-4 season that culminated in a state championship game appearance in Class 1A, proving that its Air Force style offensive attack works when the right pieces are in place.
Rich fell to perennial power Duchesne in the 2012 Class 1A title contest then graduated nearly all of its four-person backfield. Only senior fullback Ben Groll is back for the Rebels, who will search for replacements at quarterback and the two halfback spots.
"We've got the kids that can do it, if they will," Rich coach Ashley Brown said.
One of those who will get a long look is McKay Jarman, a senior who excels as a defensive end but who Brown thinks might make a good quarterback in his wishbone scheme. Until the halfbacks in the wishbone are settled, and maybe even after, look for Groll to get the ball more.
Defensively, senior cornerback Vance Weston is part of a defensive backfield that does have experience, while line play is anchored by the likes of seniors Isaac Hopkin and Dakota Clark.
The returning Rebels have the memories of a 28-0 loss to Duchesne in last year's finale embedded in their thoughts, as does the coach.
"I think if we could have taken care of the ball, it might have been a little different," said Brown, whose team is hoping to get another taste of playing deep into the postseason.
"Until somebody beats them [Duchesne], they're the favorites," Brown said.
ASSIGNMENT • Class 1A North
LAST YEAR • 8-4 overall, 3-1 Class 1A North
KEY RETURNER • Ben Groll, sr., FB.
PLAYER TO WATCH • McKay Jarman, sr., DE.
BIGGEST HOLE • Inexperienced running backs.
NEED TO KNOW • Pass defense could be a point of strength as most of the D-backfield is back.