North Dallas High head football coach Fred Johnson is beginning this season much like his previous 18 seasons of coaching football — building a family atmosphere.
“The first thing I do is get my coaching staff to become a family,” he said the other day. “We go out to eat together or cook over at somebody’s house. We got to get that done first. Then you try to get the kids here. We build that family atmosphere before you even get started. That’s basically every team that I’ve ever coached. Try to be a family first.”
The Bulldogs have been going through summer conditioning drills. On Monday, they begin fall workouts. The first four days will be in shorts, followed by a scrimmage against Hillcrest on Friday, Aug. 25, and then working out in pads.
The season opener is against Lincoln at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 1 at Henry Stadium in Seagoville.
The Bulldogs went 1-9 in Johnson’s first season. The North Dallas coach said there were several plays/calls last season that went against the Bulldogs but could have turned the season around.
Last season was a “learning year,” Johnson said.
“I call it more of a learning year because we had to get to know the kids and the kids had to get to know us,” he said, referring to the coaching staff. “You have to figure out which buttons to push to get the kids to play. So, more of a learning year. I’m not going to say we’re rebuilding because they had quite a few kids coming back. More learning. Learning kids and kids learning us.”
Looking to this season, Johnson said he’s pleased with the turnout for the summer conditioning.
“Numbers is a major difference. This summer, we averaged almost 30 kids a day coming out to practice,” he said. “We did more 7-on-7 in the Pleasant Grove league. We did 7-on-7 at ESD. We got kids invited out to the Cowboys youth camp, to the Kevin Frazier camp. So yeah, that’s the major difference. Major difference is our kids competing, they’re coming. Like I tell our coaches, our kids are here, now we have to coach.”
Also, entering his second season as the Bulldogs helm, Johnson says he has a full staff. The North Dallas coaches include Floyd Webb, offensive coordinator; Matthew Clay, defensive coordinator; Darrell Allen, safeties; Desiree’ Allen, cornerbacks; Cruise Arvie, wide receivers; Byron Boyd, offensive line; Leon Brigham, linebackers, Stephen McGill, running backs; and Sherman Ursin, defensive line.
“The good thing about this year is our staff is fully staffed,” he said. “We have all nine coaches.”
Players to watch this season
Tykedreaus Elder: wide receiver/defensive back, 6-foot, 163 pounds
KaVonn Price: quarterback/linebacker — 5-foot10, 200 pounds
Christian Armstrong: Wide receiver/defensive back — 6-foot–3, 185 pounds
Hunter Huckabey: defensive back/wide receiver, 6-foot-1, 195 pounds
Chris Ramirez: offensive line/defensive line, 6-foot, 251 pounds
Isaiah Dyson: linebacker/fullback, 5-foot-9, 210 pounds
The scrimmage against Hillcrest has been changed to 8:30 a.m. Friday at Loos Stadium. … This year’s team has 12 seniors. “I expect them to have a big year. They’ve been here, They’ve put the work in,” Johnson said. … Coach Johnson said Woodrow Wilson is the early District 12-5A favorite, followed by Bryan Adams, Seagoville and “then it’s a tossup.”
Note: Scrimmage against Hillcrest has been changed to 8:30 a.m. Friday at Loos Stadium.