When a school only has had one winning season in the past 15 tries, the new coach can't be faulted for giving his players an example of something better.
That example is about a dozen miles down the road for Altamont.
"Duchesne has a football program," Richins said. "We have a football team."
To ascend to the heights of a powerhouse like Duchesne, Richins first must get Altamont athletes the motivation to join the team. The Longhorns had 26 students participate in the football program last year.
"If I can get the participation up, we'll be OK," Richins said. "Our wrestling coach wants them to play football. In the past, only five or six kids lifted weights in the offseason, but we had 20 this year."
The Altamont players also have been participating in a running regimen to help prepare them for the season.
"They just haven't had alot of success," Richins said. "But the group of seniors, they're ready to go."
Behind center • Two seniors, Parker Rust (5 foot 10, 150 pounds) and Zach Hansen (6-2, 170), got some time at' quarterback last season, and they'll vie for the spot again. Don't be surprised to see athletic freshman Makovey Jessen (6-1, 145) get a shot at it if the pair struggles. Running back also is in competition mode. Senior McKay Foy (6-1, 165), who did carry the ball as a junior, will share time in the backfield with senior Wyatt Jessen (6-0, 165).
Ball hawks • Jessen, if not at quarterback, has good hands and good speed, so putting him at wide receiver will be a tempting alternative for the new coach. Junior Preston Jessen (6-3, 170) is a tall target who didn't get many opportunities a year ago. "I think he'll make more of an impact," Richins said. One primary target returning is senior Lane Benson (6-1, 155), and he also will chase down balls in the Longhorns' defensive backfield along with Rust.
In the trenches • Richins calls senior lineman Russell Mitchell (5-11, 210) a beast and is hoping that Mitchell can be a consistent presence on the offensive line at guard and at defensive tackle. That's also the goal for another returning starter, senior Cody Miles (6-1, 220), who will line up in those same positions as the two prepare to plug up opponents' progress in the middle of the line. Junior Tallon Kynaston (6-0, 170) is another possibility, along with a pair of promising freshmen, but Richins is hopeful that enough line depth will allow Kynaston to take handoffs from fullback.
Hit men • On defense, Kynaston is fast, aggressive and will pursue runners from either a nose tackle or linebacker slot. Foy also will switch from running back to linebacker or cornerback for the same purpose. Freshman Tristan Farnsworth likely will get to utilize his aggressiveness ahead of schedule as a safety, while senior Kason Abbott (6-1, 150) will provide some experience and leadership.
Key returners • Tallon Kynaston, Jr. (FB/LB); Russell Mitchell, Sr. (OG/DT); Cody Miles, Sr. (OG/DT); McKay Foy, Jr. (LB/CB)
Key losses • Dillon Goode, OL/DE; Andrew Brotherson, OL/DL; Josh Page, OL/DL
The next wave • Makovey Jessen, Fr. (QB/WR); Tristan Farnsworth, Fr. (S); Maleke McGhee, Jr. (OT/TE); Calvin Stephenson, So. (OT)