Pittsburg Football Opens Two-A-Days with Veteran Coach Dickey Meeks at the Helm
PITTSBURG -- Wherever Dickey Meeks has coached, the team has performed better than prior to his arrival. Pittsburg hopes that trend continues.
The Pirates enjoyed their second day of two-a-day practice Tuesday at Pirate Stadium with the East Texas veteran coach overseeing his staff of coaches. Meeks arrives after seven years at Henderson, where he reeled off a 33-10 record in his final three campaigns, the first of which ended with the Lions raising the Class 3A Division I state championship trophy.
Pittsburg hired Meeks in January and he was happy to return to the northern environs of East Texas, where he coached Mount Vernon to a 42-26 record from 2000-05. He enters the 2013 season with a 149-122-4 head coaching record in Texas dating to 1989.
"Things have been good. We were able to make the transition early enough in the year that I think we've been able to accomplish some things," Meeks said. "It's the same area that we remember from when we were here before. My wife and I like it up here, so I'm hoping everything works out."
Meeks led Henderson to the fourth round or better in each of the last three seasons, but it's been that long since Pittsburg qualified for the playoffs. Former coach Robert Manley led the Pirates to a 12-2 season in 2009, when they reached the 3A Division II state semifinals, but Pittsburg fell from 6-4 to 5-5 to 2-8 during the last three seasons.
Meeks has multiple proven players on each side of the ball to start the Pirates' rebound, including senior quarterback Garrett Truitt, senior defensive lineman Tajawin "Ty" Smith, senior linebacker Tre Nelms, and junior linebacker Sir Charles Perkins. Truitt threw for 1,729 yards, 11 touchdowns, and seven interceptions (plus five rushing touchdowns) last year, while Perkins led the team with 146 tackles.
"I knew Garrett's parents when I lived up here before and Garrett was a little 7-year-old kid running around that kinda looked up to Rickey Joe," Meeks said, referring to his now-offensive coordinator son who played quarterback during Dickey Meeks' Mount Vernon tenure. "It was kinda funny coming back and seeing (Truitt) grow up to a 6-4, 200-pound guy. I think he's got a chance to do a good job for us. We have some other guys that are back. Ty Smith is a defensive lineman and has a chance to be good. Trey Walker is a running back that started the last two or three games as a freshman last year that has a good chance. Jarrion Douglas has had a position move (to cornerback). There are some people that I think can do some things for us."
Walker is a speedy option from the backfield. He ran for 161 yards and three scores as a true freshman in limited action toward the end of the 2012 season. He and the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Fre'Zarian Harris are two potential difference-makers in a 2016 Pittsburg class that shows a lot of promise.
"They were a really good class when I saw them in the eighth grade when I was at Henderson and I think it's a real well-rounded class," Meeks said. "I don't think it's just skill kids or just linemen."
Meeks expects Baylor-committed athlete Davion Hall and Liberty-Eylau to be the early favorite in the District 13-3A race, along with two-time defending league champion Paris.
But beyond that, Meeks said he's not sure what to expect.
"I don't think there's any question Liberty-Eylau will be the favorite. They've got a lot coming back. They've got a D-I player (Hall) at safety and wide receiver and quarterback and wherever else he wants to play. I think they've gotta be the favorite," Meeks said. "Paris, having won the district the last two years, has to be up at the top. After that I really don't know a whole lot about the district. I had some dealings with those two schools when I was there at Henderson, but really the rest is pretty unknown to me."
Pittsburg scrimmages at Pine Tree on Friday, Aug. 16. The time is to be determined.