Brent Barnes' frequent-flyer miles from Southwest are adding up since he was hired by Scottsdale Chaparral out of Oklahoma in late February.
"I'm still finishing things up (in Oklahoma) but I'm really fully here," said Barnes, who has been commuting back and forth this spring.
Barnes didn't have to immediately leave Norman (Okla.) North, where he coached the state's most prolific passing offense the last three years, to know what he was coming into.
Quarterback Jack Miller has been on major college coaches' radar since the eighth grade and this spring was listed as the No. 1 quarterback in America in the 2020 class in the 247 Sports composite rankings.
Miller has a who's who of colleges hoping to land him. He said he wants to commit before his junior season begins.
In the meantime, Miller is excited about the type of offense that Barnes brings. It also helps that Barnes has hired Tim Kohner to be his co-offensive coordinator with himself. Kohner and Barnes are on the same page with their spread offense that features not only Miller's passing abilities, but the guys around him.
"It's looking really good," Miller said before the start of Tuesday's spring practice. "Everything is starting to come together for sure."
Kohner knows Miller well. He was the offensive coordinator at Scottsdale Christian during Miller's freshman season when he rewrote the 2A state passing record book.
With Thomas Lewis resigning to dedicate more time to his day job, Chaparral opted to not elevate defensive coordinator Conrad Hamilton back to head coach and went outside the state.
Chaparral has a new offense under coach Brent Barnes and the nation’s top QB to get it goingRichard Obert, azcentral sports
Barnes' dad Bobby is a long-time coach in the Valley, leading Buckeye for a while, before assisting at Glendale Copper Canyon the past couple of years.
Brent still is in the process of moving his family from Oklahoma. But he's attended enough workouts to know that besides Miller, there are plenty of skill players and an experienced line returning to make this offense click, despite moving up a conference to 6A and facing Chandler Hamilton to begin the season.
"That's a great place to start," Barnes said about Miller. "We're really excited. He's got a lot of weapons."
They include sophomore wide receiver Tommy Christakos, receiver Marcus Norvell Jr., running back Marqui Johnson, slot back Deavon Crawford and running backs Darvon Hubbard and Josh Edwards.
"Just a bunch of different guys you can get the ball to," Barnes said. "When you have those kind of options and somebody who can get it to people in different spots, we've got a good opportunity to have some success."
Chaparral High WR Tommy Christakos makes a catch while offensive coordinator Tim Kohner watches during spring football practice in Scottsdale, Ariz. May 1, 2018. (Photo: Michael Chow/The Republic)
Christakos said it's been a great beginning so far with Barnes.
"Especially that he's young and he can connect to the players quite a bit," Christakos said. "I feel like the wideouts, especially the tight ends, will be more utilized this year than last year."
Miller thinks he'll be more of a pocket passer in this offense. But if a play breaks down, he is capable of making plays with his legs.
"I think it's going to be more of a drop-back offense with running the ball with the running backs once in a while," Miller said. "We have two really good running backs. There is no reason for me to run the ball that much."
Chaparral has a combination of speed and power in the backfield with Johnson, Hubbard and Edwards. Hubbard and Edwards are both more than 200 pounds.
Kohner can't wait to wind this offense up.
"With Jack, as long as he gets the ball out quick with all of those weapons, I think he's in for a big year," Kohner said. "He's progressed from even a month ago to now. He has picked up the offense because it's similar to what we ran at SCA. He is really enjoying it."
Chaparral is trying to get back to elite status that made it one of the state's best programs during the Charlie Ragle era from 2007-11. Chaparral won three state titles in a row under Ragle, who is now an assistant coach at California.