The Mammoth High School football team opens two-a-day practices Monday, and even casual observers will notice a big change from last year.
Two-year veteran quarterback Tyler Wormhoudt will move from quarterback to tailback for his senior year, leading an offense that is solidly committed to the ground game, said assistant coach and defensive coordinator Jason Patterson.
“We’re just going to run people over,” Patterson said.
To do it, the Huskies this year plan to run from behind a staggered line—another wrinkle that football fans around here haven’t seen.
The one person who has seen it, though, is Head Coach Marty Thompson, the Mammoth Police Department’s main contribution and who has worked for years behind longtime coach Tom Gault.
(The indefatigable Gault will be on the sidelines, of course, but not as the head coach. Rather, Gault adds decades of experience in High Desert League football.)
The run-oriented offense is anchored by variations on essentially two plays—“heavy right” and “heavy left,” which Thompson’s Fresno State Bulldogs played when he was there, on his way to the Detroit Lions of the NFL.
The anchoring plays are to be run out of a pro-set, and assuming touchdown after touchdown, the Huskies then go on defense, where big changes also are brewing.
Having finished last season at 5-5 while running the new formation late in the season, the Husky defense will line up in an unusual 3-3-5 set; that is, three down linemen, three linebackers and five coverage positions.
To hear Patterson describe it, the defensive set looks, more or less, like a traditional nickel set, with a strong safety providing the direction for four corners, who can slip up or back on an opposing offense.
It’s a simple-looking machine, all in all, but it will require the smallish Huskies to use all the athletic ability they can muster.
That will provide the driving incentive behind the two-a-day training camps and eventually, for big games that might lead to a playoff berth.
For a team that three years ago didn’t even have a team (long story, better forgotten) a playoff berth would cap a remarkable building story.
Patterson, for one, unhesitatingly said the team is on that brink.
“We’ve got high hopes,” he said. “The boys have done their work over the summer and are ready for the two-a-days.
“I believe we’re a playoff team.”
The season opens with an Aug. 24 home game against Whittier Christian of La Habra at 7 p.m.