Spring Football Update: Darrell Piske + Tyler Lee Seek Fresh Start in Year Two
TYLER — Year two of the Darrell Piske era at Tyler Lee has begun with spring workouts, and the second-year head coach is looking to turn the page from last season’s 1-9 campaign.
Piske, hired to replace Randy Huffstickler last spring, sat down with ETSN.fm on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the Red Raiders’ progress thus far this spring.
Among the topics discussed was Piske’s decision to switch the Red Raiders’ base offense to the spread after running a traditional one-back set in 2012.
Tyler Lee averaged less than 14 points and 260 yards per game on offense, and Piske said he believes the spread will serve his offensive personnel better in the future.
The Red Raiders’ spring game is scheduled for 6 p.m. on May 23.
Q&A with Tyler Lee Coach Darrell Piske
- ETSN.fm: How is spring practice going so far?
- Darrell Piske: It’s going good, it’s going good. We’re on Week 2 I guess and the kids have responded well with the physicalness of them getting after it good and competing every day, working hard and trying to pick up all the new stuff.
- ETSN: Do you find that with you being here for over a year now that it’s been easier for you than at this time last year?
- DP: Yeah, naturally it helps because the kids know myself and my coaches, and the coaches know the kids. Last year, the offensive coordinator (Dan Roberson) started the first day of spring ball. (Former defensive coordinator Shane Anderson) was new. And here in the summer time, (quarterbacks coach Clint Walraven), (offensive line coach Donnie Leach), (offensive line coach Brandon Denson) — all those guys on staff now weren’t on staff last spring. We started two-a-days with one week to get ready, one scrimmage to get ready and half a new coaching staff.
- ETSN: What’s been your primary focus going into spring?
- DP: We’re going to a new offense, we’re going to the spread offensively. Getting that taught personnel-wise, we’re trying to find playmakers for that side of the ball. That’s probably been the biggest focus. Defensively, just bringing intensity. That’s one thing we lacked last year: competitive passion. They’ve responded this year by getting after it in practice. They realize that when the play’s over, they’re both on the Red Raiders, but they get after each other’s butt from play to play. Really, it’s been pretty heated out there which has been good.
- ETSN: Who are some of the players that have surprised you so far this spring?
- DP: Really the O-line. We’ve moved Antron Henry (6-1, 240; 2014) to the O-line and Amier Wilson (6-2, 230; 2014) to the O-line. That’s a lot of thinking, and both of those guys were D-line last year. On the D-line, it’s a little simpler because you just have to get after it and tackle the guy with the ball. On the O-line, you’ve got different different plays and steps and schemes that they’ve got to learn. And in the process of doing that, they haven’t lost their aggressiveness. That’s what we were missing last year, our aggressiveness offensively O-line-wise, and that’s what’s impressed me about those two. Really, they’ve brought a lot of intensity to the O-line as well as the other O-lineman. I mean, David Hogge (6-4, 270; 2014), his feet have improved 8,000-times from last year. Skill-wise, Tavon Wesley (RB, 5-11, 185; 2016), a freshman, he’s really, really been impressive so far this spring. Defensively, Tristan Taylor (DL, 6-1, 255; 2014) along the front has been pretty good. Brandon Durman (LB, 6-2, 200; 2015) has done a good job at linebacker, him and Roderick Gains (LB, 6-2, 180; 2015) both. Durman’s just surprised me at how quick he’s reading stuff. Secondary-wise, we’ve moved Patrick Udophia (DB, 5-9, 175; 2015) to safety; he played corner for us a little bit last year. Patrick’s looking pretty good at safety. Defensively, they’re just flying around a lot more; they’re just doing a great job. Offensively, we’re a little bit behind putting in all this new stuff, and (the defense) is getting after their butt every day. Finally, yesterday I feel like the offense won the practice, whereas the defense has won it most of those other days.
- ETSN: Which players that not many outside of the school have heard about will we be hearing from come the fall?
- DP: You’re going to hear about Tavon Wesley. No. 1, he’s got good speed, he’s strong, he’s a good hard runner. I watched him yesterday in practice, he ran smooth over a linebacker and finished up by running smooth over a secondary guy. He runs real physical, but the good thing about Tavon is they call him “Smiley.” He’s always in a good mood, he’s going to show up every day and he’s going to be someone you can count on, somebody the team can count on, he’s going to work his tail off. And he’s going to end up being really good. And I think he’ll stay humble, and that’s what we talked about yesterday. There’s a lot of guys that look just like him that are freshmen going to be sophomores. But it’s the ones that keep working and stay humble that turn out to be special as seniors.
- 4 — wins Tyler Lee has in the last three seasons.
- 259.3 — yards of total offense per game Tyler Lee averaged in 2012.
- 22 — points per game Tyler Lee averaged in four non-district games in 2012.
- 8.2 — points per game Tyler Lee averaged in six district games in 2012.
- 81-42 — Tyler Lee’s record from 2000-09.
Spring Football Stories
- Wednesday, May 8 — Tyler Lee Red Raiders
- Wednesday, May 1 — John Tyler Lions
- Wednesday, May 1 — Mount Pleasant Tigers
- Tuesday, April 30 — Pine Tree Pirates (not holding spring drills)
- Friday, April 26 — Sulphur Springs Wildcats (not holding spring drills)
- Wednesday, April 24 — Lufkin Panthers
- Tuesday, April 23 — Longview Lobos