When a new coach is a building a football program, he must emphasize the little things. Running the base offense and base defense are important. But in order to get those elements operating effectively, it must start somewhere else early.
New Grapevine coach Randy Jackson pointed to the summer workout program. Not counting players missing for family vacations or camp obligations, Jackson said the attendance was about 90 percent. Jackson and his staff do not use an outside agency for any camp assistance. It’s just a school’s standard summer conditioning program.
“The offseason is where you’re building,” Jackson said. “So from that standpoint, the spring and the summer were great.”
Grapevine began fall camp on Monday in the hopes things will be better from what has been a pretty tough last two seasons. But this is also a time where Jackson wants this program to be good now.
That said, he knows he has to exercise some with a program that went 1-9 in 2013 and has won only four games in the previous two seasons.
There is a little psychology involved as well. The Mustangs are going to have a new look. Jackson bought the team new uniforms as well as an alternative helmet. The standard will be the red helmet with the blue mustang. The alternative is a flat blue with a red mustang.
“When you turn a program around, you just have to tell your kids you’re going to be good today,” Jackson said. “There are going to be growing pains. But I’ve been through this at Mesquite Poteet. We all worked hard to turn it around.”
Coach: Randy Jackson (1st season)
2013 record: 1-9 (missed playoffs)
Returning starters: 5 offense, 5 defense
Key players: QB Sam Barry, Sr.; OL Jace Ewing, Sr.; OL Brian Friedrichs; DL Jake Bachand, Jr.; LB Ethan Neill, Sr.; DL Robbie Haider, Sr.
Notable: The offseason has already been a success on two fronts. First, Barry has verbally committed to Air Force. Second, Haider, who missed all of 2013 with a torn ACL, has been cleared and should give this team great depth along the defensive front.• With a program that has been down for the last two years, Jackson said the emotional work for a team is four times greater than rebuilding the physical side. But he also said he took a lot of time in the offseason to create a more physical environment for his kids. He believes the players responded favorably.
• Jackson did not fill the lone remaining spot on his coaching staff, an assistant offensive line position. However, he said he will probably coach that position. He also did that when he was at Mesquite Poteet … The running back situation will be a camp battle between junior Jacobi White, who transferred in from Frisco, and senior Tyler Wolf.
• During the season, Tuesday is known as turnover Tuesday. Jackson wants his program to focus on creating turnovers. If a player creates one during a drill, Jackson will stop practice and apply a sticker on the player’s helmet …. Grapevine should be in a good position to make the playoffs in District 6-5A.