Big changes at Paradise Valley
The Trojans will have a new offense and defense, and, for the first time in God-only-knows how many years, the Trojans are planning on not having anyone play both ways.
Trojans coach Donnie Yantis said he expects to have about 60 kids dress on Friday nights. That means the Trojans can practice guys on one side of the ball or the other exclusively (although they will occasionally work on both sides in case injuries necessitate shuffling across the line of scrimmage).
That’s never happened since Yantis has been a part of the P.V. program (player, coach or otherwise) dating back to 1984.
The Trojans had been a run-heavy team the past few years because that’s how Yantis’ kids were constructed. At times it’s worked wonders (2007, 2008). At times it hasn’t (2006, 2010).
In 2010 the Trojans (2-8) relied on junior running backs Aaron King (791 yards, seven TD) and Mikah Ruffino (505 yards, five TD). Both are also capable pass catchers out of the backfield.
This year, seven sophomores who started in 2010 are back, while only six kids were lost to graduation. The Trojans are high on returning quarterback Ryan Finley, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound junior who completed 46 percent of his passes for 1,385 yards, eight TD and 12 INT as a sophomore. He’s drawn interest from some Pac-10 schools (among others) at a couple camps this summer.
Yantis also likes his receiving crew which runs 5-6 deep.
Consequently, after Yantis spent ample time with some longtime coaches (especially Texas) in the past couple years, the Trojans are going for more of a spread offense that could skew their run-to-pass ratio in favor of the latter, whereas they ran a predominantly Wing-T in recent years.