When Murray plays Taylorsville at home Aug. 30, it will be the first game on the Spartans' new turf field.
"Out with the old, in with the new," Murray coach Mike Richmond said about the new playing surface. He just as easily could have been talking about his football team.
Murray had 28 seniors on the team last season, a squad that finished 1-9 in Richmond's first year.
This season the team has just 12 seniors and only three starters back from last season, but Richmond likes the guys he has coming back, especially along the interior.
Richmond said two of his best players will play on both the offensive and defensive lines. Brock Acord, who will be a junior, was a starting offensive tackle and defensive end as a sophomore. Treven Aloi, a junior transfer from Cottonwood who missed last season due to transfer regulations, will join Acord on the interior. Aloi, who Richmond said is 6 foot 2 and 310 pounds, will be a matchup problem for opposing teams on both offense and defense.
"He'll be a guy that teams will have to double team," Richmond said. "He'll be a play maker."
Richmond also is excited about Ethan Barnett, a senior wide receiver and safety who Richmond called a "very talented skill player" with a "phenomenal work ethic."
According to Richmond, players lining up on both sides of the ball will be a staple of the Murray team and as many as eight players will play both offense and defense this season.
ASSIGNMENT • Region 7
LAST YEAR • 1-9 overall, 0-5 Region 7
KEY RETURNER • Brock Acord, jr., OL/DL. Acord brings size, strength, leadership and experience to the offensive tackle and defensive end positions.
PLAYER TO WATCH • Treven Aloi, OL/DL. At 310 pounds, the Cottonwood transfer brings terrific size to a team that is small in numbers and stature.
BIGEST HOLE • With just 80 players in the program, including freshman, junior varsity and varsity levels, a single injury could derail Murray's hopes for a successful season.
NEED TO KNOW • The Spartans will run a spread option out of the shotgun, and conditioning will be key. At least eight players will play both offense and defense.