Facebook Twitter

Youthful Bruins upbeat

SHARE Youthful Bruins upbeat

OREM — For football players looking for a chance to make a name for themselves, Mountain View is a good team to be playing for this season.

The Bruins have only three players returning on offense and two on defense. With so many new faces in this year's lineup, coach Doug Meek said he'll need some kids who haven't been asked to do much in the past to step up and play big roles. He'll also need a lot of underclassmen to contribute. It's very likely that a few Bruin players will emerge as new football stars.

"This year we're all brand new, and I'm not sure what we're going to have," Meek said.

What Meek does have to help with the rebuilding is a bigger and more experienced offensive line than he's had in recent seasons.

At least the new skill position players should have good protection and solid blocking in front of them.

"If you have to start over somewhere, it's nice to have some offensive line experience," Meek said. "We feel like we've got six good players who can play there for us right now, and several others who are developing pretty good."

The Bruins struggled last season to put the ball in the end zone, and they were a mistake prone team — losing several games late with costly turnovers. Meek says he's got several talented athletes in the skill positions who can gain the yards. He just needs to make sure they protect the football as well.

"We're pretty solid in every position, but I'm not going to say we have any superstars. This year I feel like we're a lot more balanced in the sense that there are guys we can go to across the board," Meek said.

The quarterback time was split between two players last season. There are currently two fighting for the job this season, but Meek hopes to settle on one before league games begin.

"We need to have confidence in that spot and know who is going to step up and be that leader," he said.

Another change on offense will be the Bruins running the ball more, which should make their passing plays more effective.

"We just want to develop to be consistent offensively," Meek said.

Even though the expectations from outside are down for this season, the Bruins are not letting the predictions bother them or damper their optimism. Meek said his players have worked hard in the offseason and they're confident the effort will pay off.

"I think we need to have some success early on. But if we do, I can see our confidence really growing. That doesn't necessarily mean we have to win games, we just need to see that we're progressing and competing," Meek said.

Mountain View Bruins 2006 football preview

Coach: Beginning his fourth season as the Bruins head coach, Doug Meek is again facing a rebuilding year. Under Meek, the Bruins won a region championship in 2004, but struggled last season and lost a play-in game. The Idaho native was an assistant coach for seven seasons at Mountain View and Payson before landing a head job. He played football for one season at Southern Utah University.

Key Players: The Bruins are a little thin on returning starters, so those that they do have will be relied upon heavily. Josh Curtis was the team's leading tackler last year and should have another big season at linebacker. Greg May was outstanding last season in the defensive backfield, and should again make life difficult for opposing receivers. The Bruins have some outstanding linemen in Marsten Na'oupu, Jeff Cobb and Luke Bateman. Most of the team's skill-position players are new. Mark Garrett and John Caffaro are fighting for the quarterback job. Marcus Draper, Nate Stroshine, Gage Eckles and Braden Hellewell will get most of the carries. The team's top two ball-catchers likely will be Wyatt Davis and John Daniels.

Strengths: The Bruins have a decent line returning and should be better up front than they've been for awhile. They also have strong and quick linebackers, and some quick defenders in the secondary. Without any superstars, the Bruins should have good team unity.

Question marks: By season's end a lot of underclassmen will have to step up and play big roles for the Bruins. The skill-position players are all untested and inexperienced. The Bruins had an outstanding kicking game the past two seasons, and they'll need to find someone on the team who can fill that role and be a reliable kicker. Injuries would devastate this team because of a lack in depth. It's important that the Bruins win a game early, or at the very least compete or they could get discouraged. However, four of their first five games are on the road.

Last season: 4-6, fourth in Region 4. Lost play-in game.

Projected Region 4 finish: Sixth

Postseason possibilities: With so many inexperienced players, it's very unlikely they'll be playing by late October.

2006 Schedule (home games in bold)

Aug. 18 - Payson

Aug. 25 - Copper Hills

Sept. 1 - Springville

Sept. 8 - Orem

Sept. 15 - Spanish Fork

Sept. 22 - Pleasant Grove

Sept. 29 - Lone Peak

Oct. 6 - American Fork

Oct. 11 - Timpview

Oct. 20 - Timpanogos

E-mail: jimr@desnews.com