Some Friday morning notes as we kick off the best time of the year. Football time is here!

Development of Dez

The most impressive thing coming out of Thursday night’s Cowboys-Texans pre-season debacle occurred on the sideline during the fourth quarter. When the Cowboys TV crew put a headset on Dez Bryant, we were able to see and hear firsthand what a maturation and transformation we have seen in the Cowboys star receiver.

As Michael Irvin told me afterwards, he didn’t think this was possible when Dez first arrived in Dallas as a rookie. He is blown away by the vast improvement in Bryant’s communication skills. We agreed that the wisdom, humility, work ethic, respect for authority, and general commitment to the team concept has been huge in the development of Dez. I don’t know who it is, but somebody has been speaking wisdom into Dez. We’re seeing the fruit of that now, both on the field and off it too. I thought it was great to be able to see that in a live interview format during the fourth quarter of an otherwise meaningless fifth and final preseason game.

Johnny Football’s Backup

Texas A&M kicks off its most anticipated football season ever on Saturday at noon against the Rice Owls. They’ll do it without suspended QB Johnny Manziel in the first half. I’m hearing that true freshman Kenny Hill is being prepared to start at QB for the Aggies.

It’s possible that the Aggies might reward 5th year senior Matt Joeckel (Arlington HS) with the starting assignment, but A&M coaches are preparing Hill to start the game. It’s pretty amazing that a kid who was fully engaged in a deep run in the high school baseball playoffs at Southlake Carroll just three months ago, could pick up a college offense so quickly without the benefit of spring practice.

It’s a real testament to Southlake Carroll offensive coordinator Clayton George, one of Todd Dodge’s protégés. I remember Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel telling me eight years ago how amazed he was at Chase Daniel’s college preparedness coming out of Dodge’s system at Carroll as a Mizzou true freshman in 2005. Obviously, Kenny Hill, the son of former Rangers pitcher Ken Hill, is cut from the same cloth.

Cedar Hill Makes Statement

Great start to the high school season for Joey McGuire’s Cedar Hill Longhorns last night. Led by highly recruited junior WR Demarkus Lodge, the Longhorns were able to hold off a valiant rally from Texas recruit Jerrod Heard and defending Class 4A state champ Denton Guyer, 38-28. Lodge already has college offers from schools like Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor and Texas Tech.

TXA 21 Late Night Classic

It’s the return of TXA 21’s High School Football Game of the Week tonight, on tape delay, right after Rangers Friday Night Baseball. Doug Anderson and LaDarrin McLane will be in the broadcast booth at Dragon Stadium in Southlake for the big showdown between the last two Class 5A Division 1 state champs, Carroll and Allen. It’s an intriguing matchup of two junior quarterbacks as elusive Kyler Murray, the son of former A&M QB Kevin Murray, tries to keep his unbeaten record intact against Kenny Hill’s replacement, Ryan Agnew, who led the Dragons to the 7 on 7 state title this summer.

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