The Salt Lake Tribune recently published previews of area high school football teams. Here is a look at West Jordan.
West Jordan certainly wasn't as bad as it was the year before, but a 5-5 record still isn't close to what coach Mike Morgan wants out of his troops. What he wants is a replica of the 2005 season, a year in which West Jordan carried itself all the way to the state semifinals.
At the crux of last season is the word potential. Simply put, Morgan doesn't think his team reached the potential it showed last season. He doesn't think it played to expectation given the talent level on the roster.
Part of it is depth, which the Jags didn't have enough of. The talent was considerable, but even considerable talent wears down when you have the majority of the lineup being forced to go both ways. Morgan thinks a boundary change will help with numbers, which will help with depth. And if that happens, West Jordan could see a leap back towards the post season.
Morgan's excited about the offense for the simple reason that his two best players are back and ready to do some damage. Morgan said that Tyson Udy and D.J. Tialavea, two bookend tight ends, are two of the best players that he's ever coached. Tialavea, who's father played at Utah, holds an offer from Utah State. He's a multiple year starter, he made all-region last season, and he's a team captain who has off the charts type of potential.
The problem is that he hasn't always lived up to that potential, which is something that has to change this season if the Jaguars are to live up to what they want to do. Udy's simply a Morgan kind of player, tough, competitive, a kid that will do anything to win. He broke his leg as a junior.
West Jordan will run a lot of play action. The Jags run the spread bone offense with a combination of wing-T. That doesn't mean they won't put the ball into the air. They will throw when the opportunity presents itself. Jace Rogers, the starting quarterback, returns for his senior season. He's not going to carry an offense, but he's smart, he manages the game and he won't make mistakes. And along with halfback Brent Henslee, the Jags return eight of their 11 starters from last season.
West Jordan, defensively, employs multiple fronts. It wants to attack whenever possible, which drops their defensive backs into a significant amount of man-to-man coverage. As on offense, the Jags return eight defensive starters, but that's because all of their players go both ways. The Jags usually start four down linemen, so they place their first emphasis on stopping the run.
Udy is the one who the rest of the team leans on. He was tremendously missed last season when he was injured. He's a great blocking tight end with the athleticism to get out and play a bit of wide receiver. He doesn't yet have any offers, but that's because of the injury. But he's a great leader, capable of being vocal or leading by example. He's highly competitive, just like Morgan, who labels Udy as one of the best players he's ever coached. And because of that trust factor between coach and player, Udy's become an indispensable factor in West Jordan's scheme.
THE NEW GUY
Colton Van Komen, a junior center on offense. On defense, Van Komen will play outside linebacker. He's going to have to play like a vet for the Jags to succeed. He's also been selected as a captain.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The Jags can compete with the best with their first 11. But their lack of quality depth is a real concern, enough of a concern that it could preclude them from making the leap that Morgan wants. What the Jags have to be is the most conditioned team each time they hit the field. Doing that will enable them be fresh down the stretch in fourth quarters. Doing that will enable them to continue to improve upon last season.
2008 football schedule
Aug. 22 – at Lehi. Aug. 29 – at Mountain View. Sept. 5 – at Olympus. Sept. 12 – TAYLORSVILLE. Sept. 19 – at Hillcrest. Sept. 25 – at Bingham*. Oct. 3 – at Riverton*. Oct. 10 – HUNTER*. Oct. 15 – at Copper Hills*. Oct. 23 – KEARNS*.
2007 results (5-5, 1-4)
Aug. 17 - at Lehi 45-27. Aug. 24 - at Mountain View 14-17. Aug. 31 - OLYMPUS 12-0. Sept. 7 - at Taylorsville 19-14. Sept. 14 - HILLCREST 34-13. Sept. 21 - BINGHAM* 13-44. Sept. 28 - RIVERTON* 14-21. Oct. 5 - at Hunter* 13-19. Oct. 12 - COPPER HILLS* 59-25. Oct. 18 - at Kearns* 29-40.
* - Region 3 games. Home games in CAPS.