Southlake Journal

May 12, 2014

Mustangs start spring with much to learn under new coach

Grapevine Football Randy Jackson and his staff will be introducing several concepts at once to a squad that will be asked to absorb a lot.

Obviously, starting over is a challenge for Grapevine first-year head football coach Randy Jackson. But coaches are used to that sort of thing. He’s slowly but surely introducing his style of coaching and the way he runs his program to the 154 players who are in it.

The Mustangs began workouts on May 1. True to his word, Jackson said he was going to use the spring as a means to keep everything simple. It’s not a situation where the staff will stay with one concept and only move on once it’s been mastered. That has to happen when a coaching staff is inheriting a program that won only three games in the last two years.

You can call it a juggling act, because several ideas will be exposed simultaneously. It won’t go rapidly but to the point where the players should have a pretty good understanding. Without question, basics are going to be mastered.

The Mustangs had their first scrimmage this past Friday. The spring game is scheduled for May 29. The team is off on Wednesdays.

“We’re just working to get them to play fast,” Jackson said. “It’s still a case where kids and coaches are getting to know each other and how we do things. I’ve been happy with the effort and their willingness to do what we ask. There’s so much learning going on.”

It’s far too early for Jackson to pencil in starters at most of his positions. However, there are some likely candidates at certain positions, including quarterback Sam Barry. The offensive line should be anchored by senior right tackle Jace Ewing (6-4, 240) and senior left tackle Brian Friedrichs (6-4, 240). Defensively, linebacker Blake McCarroll figures to be in the mix as one of the centerpieces.

“They’re pretty solid,” Jackson said. “I’m not going to say they’ve won the starting jobs, but we’re in pretty good shape with them.”

Barry’s offense?

Barry missed the first two practices because he was sick. So he had only been able to go through three days of workouts plus the spring scrimmage. The quarterback position is his to lose.

Splitting time with Adam Sandy in 2013, Barry threw for 540 yards but led the team in rushing with 611 yards and 13 scores. There will be a lot of asked of him, but Jackson has been interested in the entire package between the way Barry runs a football team and how he carries himself.

“He was as advertised,” Jackson said. “I just wanted to know what kind of kid he was. He’s very impressive and I think he’ll be a great leader for us.”

Because he is at a new school, Jackson decided to have the team vote for spring captains. He needed to know who the players really believed in. Barry was the top vote getter.

Coordinators set

Jackson has named Richard Bishop as his offensive coordinator and Charles Wheeler as his defensive coordinator. Bishop joined Jackson from Plano East. Wheeler was the linebackers coach at Highland Park. He started May 7 and replaced Bobby Allison who decided to go in a different direction.

In an unrelated note, Grapevine does have a 7-on-7 team and will play in its first state qualifier tournament May 31 in Mesquite.

Colleyville Heritage update: As of late last week, new head coach Darren Allman had not decided whether he could do spring football because he was still assembling his staff. He doesn’t have to take all 18 practices. Allman has said if he could find a way to work in 10 dates, he could do that. He is not a proponent of using the first week of August.

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