FARMINGTON — Navajo Prep will have a new offense, but a familiar look to football fans around San Juan County.
The Eagles and head coach Rod Denetso added five former Aztec High coaches to the staff in the hopes of improving from last season's district title.
Mike Kovacs, his brother, Chris Kovacs, and father, Ernie Kovacs, along with Brett Alexander and Jose Santistevan, joined Prep in the offseason and will install the same spread offense that helped to make Aztec successful over the past few seasons.
“I got a call from (Mike) Kovacs saying they had some guys who wanted to come and help out. They wanted to take on this challenge,” Denetso said of the hiring.
Mike Kovacs, who will serve as the Prep offensive coordinator, said the five coaches were looking for a new way to involved with football in the area, and they found that chance with coaching the Eagles.
“I think there's a lot of talent here, and we're excited to see the opportunity in 2A and get our feet wet in another area of competitive football in the state of New Mexico,” Kovacs said.
This will be the first time in Denetso's three years as head coach that the Eagles have had a full coaching staff.
“They bring a lot of experience. Last year, we didn't have a line coach. That got addressed,” Denetso said. “We didn't have somebody in the box. Individual positions weren't being addressed, so now we have all of that. Anytime you go down south and play those teams, you need that experience.”
Mike Kovacs also noticed the small staff Denetso had in the past and thinks the new addition will be able to improve the team.
“One thing that Rod didn't have last year was enough coaches,” he said. “It's hard to work with so many position. With more coaches, we'll be able to isolate and do more individual work.”
Many of the players have been practicing during the offseason and think the Eagles' offense, which averaged over 35 points per game last year, will be more explosive this year.
“Most of our receivers and skill players live around here and know it pretty well because we've been running it all summer,” said Mika Mauga, who won the District 5-2A Player of the Year in 2012. “This new offense is a lot better. I think we're looking pretty good.”
Despite the staff having fewer players to work with at 2A Navajo Prep compared to 4A Aztec, Alexander, who is working with the wide receivers and defensive backs, said they haven't had to scale back or water down the system. And the Eagles will be running the exact same offense that the Tigers had last year.
“These kids picked things up pretty quick,” he said. “They're hungry after they got a little taste of the playoffs last year, and they're hardworking, just like we had in Aztec.”
Denetso has already noticed the difference the new coaches have brought and can't wait to see how the rest of the season unfolds.
“We've seen it already. Kids can't take plays off and can't get away with stuff,” he said. “Everything is now very detailed oriented.”