Written by Corbett Smith
Spring football glance: Storylines for Dallas-area teams, coaches, players
Corsicana sophomore Lamontra Owens and Rockwall junior Chris Warren are two of the area’s most productive running backs, both coming off of season-ending injuries.
How much they participate in spring practice will depend on their coaches’ willingness to put them through the paces.
Owens rushed for 1,123 yards and nine touchdowns in just six games before suffering an ankle injury against Tyler John Tyler. Corsicana coach Steve Hoffman said that Owens was “doing great,” and would be ready to go at the start of Corsicana’s practices.
On the other hand, Warren — who had 747 yards and 11 scores before tearing his ACL — won’t be a part of contact drills in the spring, despite being near the end of his rehabilitation.
“It just doesn’t make any sense to put him out there,” Rockwall coach Rodney Webb said. “He doesn’t have much to prove. … I think he really understands the logic behind what we are trying to do. He’ll be doing enough stuff to feel like he’s involved still.”
Webb said he was more willing to test a handful of junior varsity players coming off similar injuries, simply to see how well those students compete at the varsity level.
Other injuries of note: Hebron four-star guard Zach Rogers is able to “do everything,” according to coach Brian Brazil. But the Arkansas pledge will be limited by his coaches during the spring. … Lovejoy coach Matt Green said that junior-to-be Bowman Sells has hit the practice field, and that he and Dakota Michaels will practice at quarterback. Sells — who threw for 2,632 yards and 25 touchdowns as a freshman — missed a good portion of the 2013 season with a collarbone injury.
Hitting the ground running
More than a dozen new head coaches will be taking their teams through contact drills this spring — several of them on short notice. Just how short? Randy Jackson, who started at Grapevine 2 1/2 weeks ago, said that he was excited about the athleticism of quarterback Sam Berry. But …
“To be honest with you, I haven’t really seen him throw yet,” Jackson said. “I’ve been busy working with the O-line. Isn’t that kinda crazy?”
Jackson was able to hire nine coaches to his staff at Grapevine, pulling assistants from across the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including from his old gig, Plano East. But those coaches won’t be on campus until the summer, and will have to hustle to Grapevine after school in order to run their new players through after-school contact drills.
Flower Mound Marcus coach Gerry Stanford has been at his job for about two months, coming from White Oak. Stanford said one of his biggest challenges in spring football is making sure his new staff has a grasp of the players’ abilities. The last several weeks were spent on getting players accustomed to the new terminology that comes with a new offense.
“We’ve pretty much got the install in,” Stanford said. “Now let’s see where we are in padded workouts, and see if we can fine-tune the personnel — trying to see what we can do and what we can accomplish.”
New 6A and 5A coaches
Austin Westlake head coach
Coppell def. coord.
Flower Mound Marcus
White Oak HC
Garland Naaman Forest
Marvin Sedberry, Jr.
Baytown Lee HC
Plano East HC
Saginaw Chisholm Trail DC
Marble Falls off. coord.
Plano West running game coord.
Texarkana Liberty-Eylau HC
Red Oak HC
* - unofficial, school board will likely finalize Monday; unclear if will have spring practice
^ - will not participate in spring football
Field general decisions
Coaches would kill (or at least maim) to have problems that Denton Guyer coach John Walsh faces this spring. With all-state quarterback Jerrod Heard on his way to Texas, Walsh needs to find a replacement behind center — and not just a caretaker, but someone who can be a dynamo in Guyer’s high-powered offense. It will be a tough decision, with three quality options to choose from: California transfer and recent Nebraska pledge Kevin Dillman, senior-to-be David Haynes and Saginaw Chisholm Trail transfer Shawn Robinson.
Each quarterback brings something different. At 6-4 and 205 pounds, Dillman is more of a pocket passer, according to Walsh. In the system since middle school, Haynes has the best understanding of Guyer’s offense, serving as Heard’s backup the last two seasons. Robinson might be the most dynamic of the three, a starter as a freshman for Chisholm Trail and the 6-4A freshman MVP in basketball.
Guyer isn’t the only high-profile program with intriguing options at quarterback.
Skyline coach Reginald Samples will choose between Jacoby Williams or Kylan Johnson to replace graduating senior Sederian Copeland. Williams was Copeland’s backup last year, while Johnson — a bigger running threat — played at safety. Whomever gets picked will have big shoes to fill — Copeland took over for Ole Miss signee DeVante Kincade and passed for 2,551 yards, 38 TDs and one interception.
“Sederian made us a little spoiled last year,” Samples said. “We were worried about it last year and came out smelling like a rose.”
Sachse graduates Utah State signee Kent Myers, who threw for 3,522 yards and 42 touchdowns en route to an 11-1 season. Brett Cox or Devin Duvernay — the team’s top returning receiver, with offers from Baylor, TCU, Texas and Oklahoma — are in the mix for Myers’ job.
Some players will see their stock rise tremendously over the next month, with recruiters from nearly every conference making the rounds in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Here are some of the area’s fastest-rising recruits since National Signing Day (thanks to help from Scout Midlands regional analyst Gabe Brooks):
From three to 13 offers, including Ariz. St., Miss. St., Baylor
Nearly 20 offers, including Baylor, Clemson, Tennessee, A&M
Recently picked up offers from LSU and Miami
Double-digit offers, Notre Dame pledge
Ronald Jones II
Oklahoma State pledge, nearly 30 offers
Texas pledge, picked up Miss. St., Nebraska, TCU, Texas Tech
From two to 13 offers, including Wisconsin and Miami
Recent offers from UCF, Wake Forest, La. Tech