Tony caught up with Gonzales’ Michael Waldie during their practice on Monday, August 12, 2019.
Tony: Let’s start with what should be an easy one since you just made the decision – Why Gonzales?
Coach Waldie: You know my wife and I… we were in the area before, at Luling, for a real short stint before my daddy got sick back in 2011. We kind of fell in love with San Marcos, San Antonio, the Gadalupe and went back to east Texas for family reasons. Two years ago, when we decided to step back from Daingerfield, we had a vision of a coastal bend, hill countryish type long-term job. Went to Pearland with coach Tullos, a great friend of mine, gave me an opportunity to kind of step back and decide what job that was. In that area was Gonzales, so when it opened there was some intrigue. I had a superintendent connection that knew Dr. Strozier and really talked highly of her and that’s really important for me in the AD job. Administration is key. So that was the initial one. Then God was looking out for us because as she retired to get Mr. Schumacher from Mason in here. Back-to-back state championships in football, Lone Star Cup, location, everything just feel together and we feel like it’s a diamond in the rough and are excited to be here.
Tony: Micahel Waldie, AD Gonzales. What does he what the community to know about his athletics programs?
Coach Waldie: First and foremost, I hope they think of us as a bunch of tough teams – whether it’s how me run in cross-country, how we hit in football, or how we attack in press defense in basketball. One thing I really preach to our staff is how tough of teams… I want people to know that if they’ve played a Gonzales team in any sport, that they are going to get their best and that we are not going to lay on the court or lay on the field. We are going to be a tough group. That’s the first thing. The second thing is that we are going to depend on dependables. You can call that discipline; you can call it being strict. There’s a lot of terms for it. Bottom-line is we are going to win with kids that we can depend on. That includes class room, that includes attitude, that includes being coachable, that includes how they act out in the community, that includes how they are with their teachers, with their parents, their momma, their daddy. There’s a big picture there when you talk about dependable. I’ve moved from discipline to dependable because I think it’s the more accurate word that I’m looking for. Tough and dependable kids.
Tony: Let’s talk football. I’m sure you’ve looked at what Gonzales has done in the past and you know what you’ve found successful at this level. What can we expect to look different for the Apaches this year?
Coach Waldie: Well one thing is we are going to take advantage of all 53 and a 1/3 yards of the field. Our spacing, the kind of original Baylor concept mixed with an Auburn sniffer. I think one thing you will notice is that we are not going to play in a phone booth. You are not going to see a bunch of double tight end, wing-type sets. They’ve had a lot of success around here playing great defense and running the football. And we want that same formula but it’s going to look different because we spread the field formationally. I think that will be big. I think we can throw it evenly. People talk about being balanced. To me that’s not 50-50. Balance is taking advantage of what they give you. We are not an air raid offense but we need to be able to throw the ball effectively to go deep in the playoffs. What I hope is all of our RPO game that’s attached to our run game and our quick game, that’s it’s things that we find that our quarterbacks can do well, and we don’t know that day 6 by the way. That’s what we’ve got to find out with two scrimmages and that four to five non-district game we have in a weird district is going to give us time to figure that out.
Tony: Speaking of the players “getting it.” There will be a moment when you see a player, by name or by position, do something on the field without being coached to do it and you say “we’ve got it.” What is that moment for you?
Coach Waldie: When we start doing everything from the sidelines, straight signal and silent and they are actually making all those calls and adjustments themselves. Right now, we are trying to get them off the bottle by stepping back and doing that more. But that’s the moment. We you see them take a check from a run to a pass, you see them make the adjustment off a defensive alignment that they weren’t prepared for but that they’ve taught. How quickly do we get to that is the key. Is that two weeks from now? Is that a month from now? It’s got to be six weeks from now. We’ve got to be the best football team we can be for Pleasanton. I’m not disrespecting our first five opponents when we do that. We want to beat them all. We don’t develop any game plan to just play somebody tough. But that’s not our ultimate goal. Whether we are 5-0, 1-4, 3-2, 2-3, as long as we are the best team going into that bye for Pleasanton that we can be, then we’ve done our job, this first year especially.
Tony: And that is the goal. If you look at the records for Gonzales they aren’t particularly impressive, but they’ve made the playoffs 6 years in a row.
Coach Waldie: And they’ve gone as least 2 deep half of that time. People as me about success and it’s not a 10-0 season. We had that last year at Pearland and it was awesome. And then we got upset in the first round by Dickinson. To me that was not a successful season. That’s hard to say when you are 10-0 undefeated district champs in big school 6A. But last year Gonzales went two rounds deep on a 6-6 football team. That was a more success season. I’m not big about records. I’m big about winning playoff games to measure our success. Step one is that get to that third season, the playoffs. And then the next step is to win games. I’d challenge a lot of non-district schedules with ours – Navarro, Yoakum, Cuero, Hondo. Holy moly. We are going to be battle tested. We will find out what kind of football team we are come that bye before Pleasanton no matter what our record is.