Frankston’s Mike Owens Adjusting to Coaching at a Smaller School
[By Mike Craven, Special to ETSN.fm]
Mike Owens reached the pinnacle of the sport during his time at Tyler Lee High School, winning the state championship in 2004. After four years out of coaching, Owens reappeared as a head coach when he accepted the job at Frankston High School, a Class 3A gig.
“It was a timing thing,” Owens said on why he got back into coaching. “I had been sitting around doing nothing for four years and it got old real fast. I hate yard work and my wife was sick of me not doing all the things she wanted me to do around the house. I had been offered a few things over the years I was out of coaching, but nothing seemed right. The superintendent at Frankston called me and I decided to go visit. I asked my wife about it and she thought it was a good idea, so here I am.”
Owens is a no-nonsense, old-school coach, and he’s set out to form the Indians in that image. He took over the day before school ended this spring and only had one meeting with the group before summer break.
“It is different at a Class 3A level. I had only known big schools, so that has been an adjustment for me,” Owens said. “We have a few guys here who could play anywhere I’ve ever coached, but we don’t have depth like I’m used to and that changed the way we practice and play, because most of our guys play on each side of the ball. We can’t do a ton of team stuff because we don’t have the numbers to get a good look on scout team so we worry more about teaching and individual stuff during the week.”
Whatever he is doing has worked through two weeks of the season. Frankston won just four games in 2014, but the Indians are 2-0 after victories against Grand Saline and Sabine. The victory against Sabine last week was a major step forward for Owens’ bunch.
“It forced us to play 48 minutes and we saw the character in our team. I think it is the best thing that could’ve happened to us,” Owens said of the comeback win over Sabine. “We were down by 10 points with just over two minutes left, scored, got the onside kick and then scored to win the game. We’re not going to lose games because we’re not playing hard for 48 minutes, I can tell you that right now. If we lose it’ll be because the other team was simply better.”
Frankston will need that mentality in District 8-3A Division II. Frankston is one of the smallest Class 3A schools in the state and plays in the same district as powerhouses such as Elysian Fields, Waskom and Arp.
“I’ve been real pleased with our passing game. We go four wide receivers and spread it around to our playmakers and we’re lucky enough to have a few really good receivers. Our quarterback, T.J. Bramley, has played really well and can run the football,” Owens said. “I’ve been disappointed in our defense, but we’re young there and improving each day. That is all I can ask.”
Frankston takes on Cayuga this weekend, providing Owens with another litmus test before the season.
“It’ll be the third different type of offense we’ve had to prepare for in three games and that will help in district because we face teams that do multiple things,” Owens said. “Cayuga is going to be physical and try to run power against us. We’ll have to step up to the challenge to keep this thing going.”