Coach's Corner: Dominique Patterson

Wrapping up the Skyline trio is junior weakside linebacker Dominique Patterson. After his breakout junior season on the defensive side of the ball, Websider visits with Head Coach Reggie Samples about his star player, how his season went, and his recruiting plans for the future.

Coach, tell me a little bit about Dominique Patterson. How was he able to help your defense this year?

"Dominique helped us a lot due to his tremendous speed at the linebacker position. He played weakside linebacker, but he has moved there from running back, so he can fly around to the ball. He also has the instincts of a running back, so it helps him in tackling and whenever a back has to choose between two gaps, Dominique normally picks the correct one."

So he was a tailback last year?

"Yes, we ran him some at tailback last year and he probably gained 300 to 400 yards for us as a sophomore. In the offseason we all decided that he'd be better off playing linebacker, and it has really worked out so far, he's really excelled at the position."

Was he ever able to show the running back skills at linebacker? Did he ever get the ball in his hands?

"Yes he did, and it was almost unfair to see him running out there against guys who aren't coached to tackle. I believe this year he had 3 interceptions returned for touchdowns, and on all of them you could tell he had plenty of running back left in him. He was weaving to the endzone very well, and he also made good reads on the ball to even be in those positions."

What's Dominique like; is he a quiet guy or a rah-rah leader type?

"He's still a leader, but he's more of the quiet type. He steps back and lets the others vocally lead, however."

How is his work ethic?

"Outstanding. He wouldn't have been able to succeed so early at two different positions like he has if he wasn't committed to getting better, and he works hard every day. He improved at linebacker every game we played in, and I'm sure he'll work hard and be even better next year."

Are his grades good too?

"Yep, you know that's the thing about all of these guys I've got this year, they are all great, smart guys. He is an A-B student, as is Mike [Davis] and Corey [Nelson]."

What's the one strength and weakness in his game?

"His strength would be his intelligence that he brings with him on the field. He is already very good with his assignments, and like I was talking about before he really seems to ‘get' how to read a hole and running back and get to the ball. He can make plays on his side, but you can't run away from him either, because he'll sniff it out and help on the other side. For his weakness, he just needs to get more reps as linebacker. He's played so long trying not to get hit as a running back, he still needs to completely mentally adjust to the killer instinct of a linebacker. He's used to all the accolades you get as a back too, although he's gotten plenty this year on defense as well."

What was his one play that stood out this year?

"His interception against Rowlett was the best of the year. If you want to see the running back in him, watch that return after he gets his hands on the ball. It was a very impressive return."

Is Dominique laying low with Corey and Mike recruiting wise, or does he have a favorite?

"He's laying low with them. They'll start looking at it down the road, but right now the only thing I want on their mind is next year's state title."

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