Round Rock Westwood HS
NR: 30 SR: 23 Rating: ***
An Inside Texas conversation with Round Rock Westwood head coach Doug Fertsch on Greg Dolan:
IT: What are Greg's strengths as a football player?
Fertsch: Greg has a tremendous upside. One, he's blessed naturally with the attributes to be a great collegiate linemen. Has great height, extremely long arms, great work ethic, he has natural strength, speed and quickness, and he's smart. Where does he need to go? That enables him to have the opportunity to be a really fantastic collegiate player if he expands on that. He already has the natural strength, now if he expands, gets bigger, stronger, faster in college, which he will, he's got all the tools. He's flexible for a kid almost 6-7. I coached 15 years of D-I offensive line and he has incredible flexibility in his lower body and back and then he has those long arms and I think the thing that Greg does different than most is he loves to practice and he has a great work ethic. Sometimes you get a kid that has that much ability and is that big, he kinda just gets through. Now, where he really needs -- and I told coach Brown this -- in high school he could overpower someone where in college he's not going to do that. He's going to have to really develop and work on quick feet. He has them, but he doesn't have to use them because he can overpower and out-leverage people because he's so much larger than they are and he has that great reach. As he develops that, I think he's going to have a really good career.
IT: What did the Texas coaches tell you that they like about Greg?
Fertsch: He was in camp two years for them. Any time a young man can have the opportunities to go visit and be around the coaches and they can see exactly what we just talked about -- they saw the great flexibility, they saw the arm length, they saw that he does have good feet, he likes to play the game. That was his upside and they just watched him. He had gone two years so when he was out there prior to his junior, they saw a tall, lanky kid with some really good ability. The next year he had gained 25 pounds and gotten better and better, then they watched that and evaluated on tape for those two years and see how he had progressed on the field athletically and in technique work and I think they saw that -- and then you look at his grades, he's got great scores, 4.0 student, those blended in. And he's a local kid too. I think that had something to do with it.
IT: Where he did he play for you?
Fertsch: Played right tackle. I'm a little bit old fashioned in that we're right-hand oriented. I would say that they will try him at left tackle. He has a natural right hand but he has those long arms that they like, so I'm sure they'll try him out there but he's really naturally right handed. I think he could play either one of them. With that reach, he's a prototype collegiate lineman.
IT: What did he mean to your team?
Fertsch: He was a very good leader and he has a tremendous work ethic. He wants to be good. He brought that temperament to practice. He didn't have any friends out there. He'd get after it, he was very aggressive and he practiced the way you need to practice on Friday and I think he'll do the same thing (at Texas). Now, he's got to step it up because everyone is going to be that type of ability and have that type of speed, strength and quickness, but when he gets as strong as the guys on campus, he already has that work ethic instilled. They're not going to have to do a thing to push his buttons and get him going, he pulls his own trigger.
IT: Could he play as a true freshman?
Fertsch: The thing that Greg can do is deep snapper. And he's good at it. He can run, he covered and made tackles. Can snap it at .8, probably have to do a little better for them, but we snapped it 15 yards and he can do that. He may not be playing in the line but if they needed a deep snapper or a guy that could back-up, then maybe he could (play as a true freshman). I believe the best thing would be to redshirt but he is an athlete and he has some things that he brings to the table that some high school linemen don't. He's got long arms, he's got a tenacity to him and I think he can develop into a really fine player. Can he do that before they open up in August, who knows. I never count a kid out. Coming out of a good program, a good lifting program, and I told Greg that's the key, he can't take off between now and Aug. 1. If he works hard from now to Aug. 1, he catches those redshirt guys. If he doesn't, he's behind those redshirts and the redshirts will take over. He works out every morning, so if he steps that up, grows up a little bit, and understands what he's going to get into -- you don't just barrel into those doors down there and expect, 'Hey, I want to play because I was a good player in high school.'
IT: Will his frame carry a lot more weight?
Fertsch: I think he'll be a 310-320 guy. He's 270 today and he looks like he weighs 250. He's very lean. A lot of that is because I think he's still growing. I think they can put 40 pounds on him. And to maintain speed, I don't think (Mac McWhorter) wants the heavy guy, he wants the nimble-footed guy who can move and I think Greg will be able to do that. He's thin for a guy that weighs right at 270.
IT: Is there a defining moment for you that exemplifies Greg's ability as a football player?
Fertsch: The thing that I remember the most is when I had left Baylor, we started off-season, he was lifting, the first day in spring training, he was so hungry in his work ethic. He was just flying around and just had a great work ethic and I remember telling coach Mac (McWhorter), he has a great work ethic for an offensive lineman. He wants to be good. Then I said he has the physical attributes to be a really good one. That same day, Saturday morning, we were working on pass sets because we were going to throw, we weren't going to run the option as much, and he never had done that, and he just set back and dropped his tail just picture perfect and I think his mentality is that 'I'd like to be flawless in my technique and bring something to the table'. I noticed that the first day, he brought a work ethic that's needed to move and that's why he's going to a place like (Texas).
IT: Anything that we didn't cover that you'd like to add?
Fertsch: Proud to have a Horn. I think it's very unique; we've only missed one year in the last five years of having a guy down there... I really believe this is the best one that's gone down there (from Westwood). Athletically, I can't see him anywhere beneath those other guys. Now, can he get to the level of playing consistently and moving forward, that's up to him.
Note from Clendon: Fertsch knows a bit about O-linemen. He took the Westwood job in January '03 after serving as an OL coach at Baylor ('99-'02), Louisiana, Sam Houston and UTEP following stints as a head coach in the high schools ranks at Westbury and Klein in the 80s.
Note from Will: We were at Round Rock Westwood on the morning of Signing Day and I did not really get a chance to talk to Greg Dolan. I had to get a quick picture and then we were off to see Myron Hardy at McNeil High School. Greg is an extremely imposing guy, and it looks like he will be able to add size to his already huge frame while he is at Texas. He is what I would call a "thin" 270 pounds, if that is possible.
NEXT UP: MYRON HARDY (Monday, Feb. 9)