Dawson’s Allison conducts rare spring workouts
Now that Mike Allison has put a cap on his first spring training camp as head football coach at Dawson, there’s at least one conclusion to which he’s arrived.
His work is just beginning.
The former Clear Brook head coach and ex-Dawson defensive coordinator puts his troops through the grinder in May in trying to assess this year’s Eagle product.
“This is the first time I’ve been a part of that in a long time,” said Allison, referring to donning the pads in May. “I think early on when Dawson first opened we might have done it, and maybe once or twice at Pearland.
“I wanted to do it this year because I wanted to see the kids. I’ve always said in the spring I wanted to find out which dogs are going to bite, and I wanted to get an idea of that before August.”
Allison takes over a Dawson program headed by only one other coach, Eric Wells, to whom Allison was a longtime assistant.
“This year, I just felt that spring ball was more valuable to what we’re trying to do, and it really did work out that way,” he said. “But within the first 15 minutes of the first day, we had two knee injuries, and then a concussion a little later in the day.
“After all that happened, I’m asking ‘Man, what are we doing?’ But the rest of the spring was great. One of the knee injuries was a surgery which was a best-case meniscus injury, and the other was a dislocated kneecap, and that kid should be fine within a month.
“Neither played varsity football for Dawson last year, but both are expected contributors for us this fall.”
Allison said the benefits his players and staff reaped from spring would certainly make him consider repeating that strategy in the future.
“I think the parents, kids, staff and community really got excited about it, and there was a lot of interest in the spring game,” he said. “This year, we’re also doing home visits with kids that are potential varsity athletes.
“This gives us a better evaluation to speak to parents about. We did exit interviews with all of the athletes, and we have papers we fill out, and we have a progress report on each kid.
“All of this gives us more information to talk to the kids and parents about how we can help them. Going into the summer, there should be no misunderstanding about where the athlete stands, how he contributes, what his role is on the team, and what he needs to do to improve if he’s not happy where he is.”
Allison said that evaluation is still ongoing and will continue throughout the school year.
“When our strength camp starts next Monday, we’ll catch the ones we didn’t get in touch with,” he said. “Each position coach will sit down with each player.
“We talk about grades first - always. We find out what they need to do in the classroom to improve their chances of going to college. We also talk about second sports, and encourage them to do as much as they can.”
Allison said his staff and players have to be relentless in their approach to getting ready for the fall.
“We answered a lot of questions in the spring, but we had a big graduation class with players going to Northwestern, Arizona, TSU and other places,” he said. “I think we had maybe nine kids sign in February, and a couple more since then.
“When you lose that much talent, you have to find guys to step up. We scrimmage Clear Brook, and then we play Oak Ridge, Summer Creek and Dickinson before a bye week and then district starts. It comes at us fast.
“I think my main job as a coach is to try to challenge these young people to be the best they can be and teach them lessons to be successful when they leave high school. If they win some football games along the way, that’s a bonus.”