I caught up with head coach Jamal Mason after the Houston Westside Wolves spring game.
Tony: Just wrapped up your spring practice, how do like what you’ve seen and what do you have to work on.
Coach Mason: Pad level. Being on old O-line coach, pad level is always going to be a big concern. We got better with our pad level. We’ve got a lot of speed, a lot of size, and at this point we have some depth on both sides of the ball.
Tony: I was really impressed with the enthusiasm from your players.
Coach Mason: That’s who I am. The team is a reflection of me. I always ask the kids, “have you ever seen me take a day off?” Never. Even when I’m tired. Even when I’m sick. I’m going to bring what we call “the juice.”
Tony: What are you though on the new rule in the UIL this year is going to allow 2 hours per week of sport specific training during the summer?
Coach Mason: They give us more time with our boys we are into that. The structure of it is that we are going to treat Thursdays like a team day, the whole team together. Do what we would normally do on the offensive side and the defensive side. That’s huge for us. It’s important that we get our guys together. Having that day were every body knows that we are going to be together and doing things together is just going to be huge for our program just like it’s going to be for every other program in the state of Texas that takes advantage of it. We are just going to see a better product, I believe, in week one, week two than we have seen in the past years.
Tony: When I was out here in the fall, you emphasized competing with that team down Westheimer. “Let ‘em hear you down Westheimer.” Tell me a little bit about using that as a motivational tool.
Coach Mason: They (Lamar) are the standard. They haven’t lost a district game in I don’t know how long. Just being honest. They are the standard. They do a lot of things right. They have a lot of good athletes. We want to keep nibbling at their heels until we are competing at a high level and we feel like we can do have we to do to be successful against those cats. Really good ballplayers done Westheimer but I think we have really good football players here. We always look forward to that matchup.
Tony: You have a real rivalry developing with the Heights.
Coach Mason: Me and Coach Dixon… On gameday we are not friends, but any other time I can reach out to Stephen and he’ll help me and I’ll help him. I think that’s where that rivalry stems from. Because we are semi-close. We can reach out to one another. We get things done that we need done. But come game week, he knows what time it is just like I do.
Tony: Tell me a little about what you are seeing from Houston ISD as a whole to get better, to be able to compete against other ISD.
Coach Mason: I do believe that as a district we have to become more competitive in each program. Andre Walker (Houston ISD Director of Athletics) is doing a great job. He’s doing some things that have already started. Maybe three weeks ago we had a kicking camp. All the 6A head coach, some of the 5A head coach and some of the 4A head coaches came out. It’s just good to be around guys that are in the same situation as you are. We have camps lined up for the summer too. With that being said, I think the steps are already in progress to just continue to grow and grow and grow and share ideas with each other. Going into the playoffs last year we all got together, all the teams that got in, and we talked about the other opponents. We shared whatever information we had. I think that’s what other districts do and I’m glad that we are doing that too.