Prep football preview: Viewmont Vikings
EDITOR'S NOTE • This is one in a series of previews of Utah's high school football programs. They will run throughout the summer leading up to the 2014 regular season, which begins Aug. 21.
When a Viewmont alumnus called Scott Ditty, the then-defensive coordinator at Alta knew football would be the topic of conversation. On the other line was former Wisconsin Director of Football Operations Zach Nyborg, who'd recently taken the same position at BYU. Nyborg, a former Viking, told Ditty to look into the head coaching vacancy at Viewmont. But comfortable and content at Alta, Ditty wasn't in any hurry to leave.
It'd take the right fit, with the right administration, supporting staff and community.
"Taking over a program that has been struggling has never scared me off," said Ditty, who takes over a Viewmont program that has won three games in its last two seasons. "You've got to have those basic things in place and have basic support across the board, and Viewmont has that here."
However, Ditty knows there's work to be done a lot of work.
First things first: The program must establish and emphasize its identity. Ditty says it starts with discipline, mental toughness and sacrifice. The basic laundry list that goes into establishing a foundation for a program.
"We don't talk about wins, we don't talk about championships we try to live off the motto of winning the day," Ditty said. "If we can win that day, tomorrow will take care of itself."
The Vikings have returning talent, including three players who saw time at quarterback in 2013 when the program finished 1-9. Ditty said Hunter Anfinson, Max Hadlock and Cole Huish are in the running to earn the starting not, adding each brings his own varied set of skills at the position. Anfinson, a senior, remains in the lead, but as Ditty reiterated, the staff hasn't hung its hat on anyone quite yet.
The ground attack will likely a by-committee effort, with returner Jared Barnum starting at tailback in the team's various rushing sets along with Chase Beckman and Jaden Lindquist.
The 2014 season will provide Ditty, the new staff and the new era of Viewmont football the chance to flip the script back to when the Vikings contended for region titles and were postseason regulars. It starts with Week 1 at Bonneville on Aug. 22.
"There's no place for lethargy or complacency on the football field," Ditty said.
Last season • 1-9 (0-6 in Region 1)
Key returner • Tate Burt (LB). The Viking defense will need an anchor in order to turn things around in 2014 and Ditty said Burt, the leading tackler from a year ago, will be able to be the quarterback of the defense.
Player to watch • Max Hadlock (ATH). Hadlock can line up anywhere from quarterback to linebacker to tight end. He remains in the mix to start at quarterback, but will be asked to utilize his versatility.
Biggest hole • Ditty didn't specify a hole or a group that needs to step up in fall camp. His answer was simply: "The whole team, not one group more so than any other."
Need to know • Outside of football, Ditty was once an actor based in Southern California, and played a correctional guard in the film "Con Air" featuring Nicolas Cage, John Malkovich, Dave Chappelle and John Cusack.