Oct 18, 2018 11:33AM
● By Skylar Kalb
By: Justin Thomas
While the eyes of the Metroplex are on new head coach Riley Dodge, there is a full force behind him ready to share the load.
Dragon fans are already well accustomed to the headlines mentioning two things about Dodge: age and lineage. It’s not every day that a gridiron powerhouse hires a 29-year-old coach. But Dodge isn’t wasting time on the mentions of his age, nor is he worried about matching his father’s, Todd Dodge, 98-11 win record for the Dragons. His confidence lies in experience, and not just his own.
“I ran the numbers at a recent function we were at and I think it came to 19 years in total as a staff of college coaching alone,” Dodge says. “There is a lot of experience here, and a lot of guys that have done it in college or as coordinators. And we have it on both sides of the ball. It’s a pretty neat thing.”
One glimpse inside the Carroll coaches’ office reveals the numbers to be concerned with are not that of Dodge’s age, but that of high school coordinating experience, coaching years in the collegiate ranks and state championship rings aboard the staff; a wealth of knowledge and teaching ability many of Dodge’s contemporaries could only dream of having at their disposal.
Not only do the members of Carroll’s staff possess a winning pedigree, they bring plenty of coaching familiarity with either Dodge himself, or Carroll, outside of new-hire and cornerbacks coach Brian Sides – who arrives via Magnolia.
Safeties coach Robert Drake, special teams and linebackers coach Mike Loveless and defensive line coach Aaron Lineweaver – the son of former legendary Euless Trinity head coach Steve Lineweaver – have all been on Carroll’s staff since Dodge was a player with the former a member of seven state titles with the Dragons.
“To have a guy that was on my dad’s staff now on my staff, that’s pretty cool,” Dodge says.
Wide receivers coach Cade McCrary was a player at the University of Texas while Dodge was there as a quality control quarterbacks coach and was retained from Carroll’s staff a year ago, as was offensive line coach Ben Gaeth.
Defensive tackles coach Carl Anderson served alongside Dodge as a defensive coordinator at Marcus, while running backs coach Scoop Reed was at Marcus just a year ago and has known Dodge for a long time.
“I was very excited to bring Scoop on,” Dodge says. “We keep in touch, and I always told him if I got the chance to be a head coach, I wanted him to come with, so it all worked out perfectly there.”
“And having worked with Carl before and being able to bring in a veteran guy that has actually called the defensive plays was huge.”
Lee Munn, the man coordinating the Carroll defense, has spent the past six years working with Todd Dodge at Marble Falls and Austin Westlake.
“I just love what he did that last four years at Westlake,” Dodge says. “It’s incredible how dynamic you can be and all of the different things you can do in his defense while still keeping things relatively simple and playing fast.”
“Lee has great energy, and he’s a great teacher,” he continues. “I would say that is the one thing that really stands out about him the most.”
Familiarity and coaching bloodlines on the staff don’t end there, however. Offensive line coach Chris Smith arrived at Texas A&M as Dodge was departing for Texas and was later a part of five state titles in six years while serving as offensive coordinator at Carthage.
“We’ve worked with a lot of the same coaches,” Dodge says. “For me, I was looking for the best offensive line coach in the state of Texas. Chris was an assistant at A&M for three years and did a great job at Carthage. He knows what it takes to win. I was looking for the best on the line and I got him.”
And then there’s offensive coordinator Marshall Williams from Fort Worth Brewer.
“He’s another guy I’ve known for a long time and we’re from the same coaching tree,” Dodge says. “Offensively, we’ve never worked together, but we’re good friends and talk all of the time. So when I had the opportunity to bring him on, he was the first guy I called. I’m fired up about having him here.”
Dodge noted that between his offensive background as a quarterback and coordinator, and the same of Williams and Smith, the chemistry in the coaching room had been outstanding.
“It’s really with the entire offensive staff, but for coach Williams, I and coach Smith, a lot of the work is done on Saturday and Sunday,” Dodge says. “That’s when the hard work is done as a staff and both of them have done it. They’ve both been coordinators and I have two veterans there. So there are three of us that have done it and that’s going to help us out.”
With ample experience from coaches on both sides of the ball, the Dragons are in good hands. There are a lot of expectations, and while Dodge is aware of that, he is staying grounded and trusting his staff.
“I’m glad the players have high standards because I know I do and I know the community does,” Dodge says. “But I think the thing that has made this place special, at least I know when I was here, is that we never got ahead of ourselves. We took on practice and games at one time. When you have that mindset, things take care of themselves. If you look too far ahead, that’s when you slip up.”