Lone Star Gridiron

Five BIG Things: 7/3/13 by Chris Doelle

chris doelle's Five Big Things in Texas High School FootballFive BIG Things in Texas High School Football

7/03/13

Its that time again… time for my Five BIG Things!  In this offseason, there have been a lot of them – but I thought I’d just whet your whistle a little bit to tide you over until the 7on7 State Championships

1. No Kyle Field for State 7on7 Championships – Our annual trek to College Station for the State 7 on 7 Championship tournament made a dramatic shift this year.  With Texas A&M University’s addition to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) they were told that the tournament could no longer be held on campus property.  The tournament was quickly relocated to the Austin area although it appears likely to return to the Bryan/College Station area as early as next season.

What it means is that the system we have worked out for nearly two decades going between Penberthy Fields and Kyle Field will be no more.  The organizers have learned a lot over that time and while there will be problems, rest assured the games will go on.

In the end, I just look forward to talking to great kids, great coaches, great fans and fellow media types and of course, seeing some great 7 on 7 football action!

Southwest Williamson County Regional Park
3005 County Road 175
Leander, TX  78641
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2013 Division I 7-on-7 State Championship Pools

2013 Division II 7-on-7 State Championship Pools

2. Class 3A adds a fourth playoff spot – This is one that you can see as a big thing or see as “finally they get with the program,” depending on your view of having four teams make the playoffs.  A lot was written when the UIL announced the change about how dramatic this change really is and yes, it would have changed who went Division I and Division II, but that’s not the important takeaway here.

Old timers have told me things like, “when I played, only one team made it… that was real football,” and “everybody plays, everybody wins… political correctness gone mad.”

In the end though, we are talking about a bunch more players getting a chance to have postseason dreams and stories to tell.  I love the game – I want football all year long and with every team…  I’m just that much of a nut.   I would be happy with a round robin tournament featuring every team against every other team.  :)

3. Big Things that are really little things - I couldn’t let the Summer slip by without taking a jab at all the “HUGE BREAKING NEWS” flying around the internet that really amounts to nothing.  “90 minutes of full-contact, full-speed” got so many people tweeting and retweeting that it was downright funny.  None of the coaches I talked with seemed all that concerned and the article I did on the subject was a matter of just putting it on record.  No big controversy, just a bunch of football fans dying for something to talk about in the off season.

The “big stories” seem to fly all over twitter and facebook, get a few people commenting and then fade away.  It reminds me of the “UPSET ALERT” tweets that were rampant during the playoffs if a favored team was down by a field goal 4 minutes into the game.

There is enough legitimate drama surrounding Texas high school football without dreaming stuff up or over inflating what is actually a minor story at best.

4. Prime Prep Academy joins TCAL - Okay, so Deion’ team joining the Texas Christian Athletic League (TCAL) is not a big deal.  As I tweeted out, it is a much better fit.  I was not at all shy about my opposition to to Prime Prep joining the UIL and feel that wrong has been righted here.  After falling into trouble early for their eligibility practices, they withdrew from the UIL in November.  Joining TCAL is a good move for them as it will give the kids a chance to play without the controversy and cries or “recruiting” and “unfair” ever time they walk on the field.

5. Social Media and sports - Okay, this one I am a little biased on because of my presentation this year at Coaching School, “Social Media: Ticking Timebomb or Golden Opportunity?”  If you haven’t weighed in on the subject, fill out the questionnaire.  The response has been phenomenal and the story told by the numbers is very interesting.

Regardless of the numbers, social media and the student athlete are forever married.  Will schools be forced to play a role in what is said online?  Will freedom of speech cost more student athletes scholarships, jobs and opportunity?  Will everyone figure out a way to “play nice” and this become an non-issue?

If you are coming to THSCA Coaching School, I invite you to come by the Fort Worth Convention Center, July 29th from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. in room 203 when I reveal the numbers and we discuss the best strategies as related to student athletes and social media.

We are just days away from the new State 7on7 Championship tournament in their new location.  Immediately after that, we will continue our tradition of rolling out team previews.  As usual, ours will be free and as usual, will do a much better job of predicting whats in store for the teams than the magazines you buy from out-of-state companies claiming to have insight in “the greatest sport in the greatest state!”

I look forward to another amazing season and want to thank you in advance for being a part!

Chris Doelle
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