By RUSSELL HUFFMAN
August 4, 2020
De Leon Coach Andy Dickson would love today to be August 28 as his Bearcats prepare for the upcoming season and their opener in Dublin.
“I wish it were tomorrow,” Dickson said. “I’m ready to get after it right now.”
Dickson is semi-serious as he watches David Yeager layout De Leon’s Slot-T offense. It’s a bit of a surreal situation for Dickson, who is now heading the program after Yeager “retired” and then unretired with a strong desire to still coach.
“It’s been a blessing,” Dickson said. “David wants to coach, but he was also tired of the responsibilities that come with a head job. Now he’s free to coach his offense.”
Few know the Slot-T scheme better than Yeager, who spent 15 of his 21 years as a head coach running the offense. De Leon fans haven’t seen much of the Slot-T, but that was because Kevin Yeager quarterbacked for four years and established a Texas top 12 all-time passer ranking.
In 2020, it’s a 180-degree turnaround on offense as the Slot-T is run-oriented and the passes come on third-and-long situations, or when the defense has been lulled into cheating in the box. Throw in the fact the potential starting quarterback is left-handed, and you’ve got the stuff that will make defensive coordinators shudder.
“We’ve got some great size this season, and our junior varsity players are stepping up and learning their roles,” Dickson said.
Fans can expect to see a backfield with a pair of running backs weighing over 210 pounds each, and there’s a pretty beefy offensive line upfront to block.
It’s no wonder Dickson would like to take on the Lions at any given moment, but he’s ready to wait as the offense begins to gel, and there are reactions instead of thinking about what to do on any given play.
“We’re excited and ready to play,” Dickson said.
There’s pretty much a consensus among the area’s smaller schools that the COVID-19 break did have a positive effect on players. Schools like De Leon, Hico, and Dublin have a lot of multi-sport athletes, and there has been a chance to recharge and let those little nagging injuries fully heal.
The significance of opening against the Lions isn’t lost on Dickson as it will also be the first-ever game at Bob and Norma Cervetto Field at the new track and football complex next to Dublin High School.
“I’m friends with Bob, and what an honor it’s going to be to go and compete against him and his team on his field,” Dickson said.
Dickson looked at “playing up” when he compiled his 2020 schedule, and the Lions and Millsap are the two 3A teams the Bearcats will battle.
“I have always believed you have to play a couple of games against some bigger schools, so you know what it will be like getting into the district and the playoffs,” Dickson said.
While the Bearcats have decent size, success in 2020 will be about keeping players healthy and keeping away the injury bug that has plagued De Leon the past couple of years.