When I first contacted Coach Don Long at Idalou about taking part in my project, he tried to warn me away. He told me, ‘Sure, but I think it will be pretty boring, my staff has been together for a long time and we pretty much have our routine down.’ I reassured him I was looking for situations such as his, a successful program with a stable staff. You may have noticed that all the teams I’m covering fit that description. This is no accident. In my book I want to make a case for the Texas model of high school football and the best way is to highlight quality programs where kids are benefiting and coaches are doing things the right way. My other, more selfish, reason is that I can learn a lot from watching good coaching, and I figure to be a much better coach when I put the whistle back on. In any case, after watching Idalou today, I’m glad I chose them.
Idalou High School, just north of Lubbock, has 309 students and 105 of them were padded up this morning. The practice I saw was very well organized and efficient and the coaching was well focused and planned out. This is a young team with only two returning starters on each side of the ball and, as a result, a lot of teaching is going on. I was impressed with the progression they used. All three teams and position coaches on all levels were consistent in teaching their parts of several plays the Wildcat added on offense. After drilling with position coaches, they progressed to group implementation and finally to the entire team. The same process was used with all three levels. It sounds simple, but too often you don’t see this coordination on younger, less stable staffs where coaches aren’t always on the same page as to how something ought to be done.
The other impressive area today was the lifting workout the varsity went through after leaving the field. Quick, businesslike with no standing around; it was similar to what I saw last Friday at Stamford. All three of my small schools (Idalou, Stamford and Throckmorton) put a lot of emphasis on weight training. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the success of all three programs.
Tomorrow I’ll be going to Abilene High, then to the Metroplex to see Aledo and Cedar Hill. After that I head south to Round Rock to watch Stony Point. Then, early next week I’ll go further south to Harlingen, and finally I’ll complete the loop of my preseason visits be heading to Port Lavaca Calhoun, before head back to La Marque for the week of the La Marque-Ball game.