AP NEWS

Crocker brings Mustang savviness, defensive mindset to Mavs

May 14, 2019

Outside of the 2007 season, arguably Pasadena Memorial’s finest campaign on the football field, the Mavs have seldom staked their reputation on the defensive side of the ball.

The program has registered just nine shutouts in the 15-year history of the program and four of those arrived in the 2007 campaign.

James Crocker doesn’t have any overnight magic to sprinkle on the program but he does come from a highly-respected program where he was the defensive coordinator.

Crocker, named in late March by the school board to replace the retiring Chris Quillian, arrives in town from Friendswood High School’s program, looking to start the process of returning some of the luster that has worn off Memorial’s program in recent years.

“I’ve known coach (John) Snelson for a long time. He speaks highly of this place. He took’em to a great place before he left for Dickinson. And when Coach Q came aboard, you had a veteran coach. They’re just very disciplined. They’re hard-nosed, hard-working kids.

“For a boy growing up in Sweeny, Texas, kind of a farming community, that was something that was enticing to me. That’s what I’ve seen out of these kids. They love being in the weight room. They’re thirsty for knowledge. Anything you hit them with, they’re asking questions. That’s what I want to see, improvement every day and the willingness to learn and to continue to grow,” Crocker said.

Look for the Mavs to continue to operate out of a base 4-2-5 but with some tweaks.

“It’s nothing new for the kids. We’ll teach some new terminology, some new techniques, probably some new coverages to run. But for the most part, it’ll be very similar to what they know. I don’t expect the learning curve to be too great as far as the defense is concerned,” Crocker said.

Offensively, the Mavs scored 237 points last year, the fewest points scored in a campaign in three years. Scoring over 300 points used to be the norm for this program so when the UIL puts you in a district with the likes of Summer Creek and Atascocita, you’d better be able to trade blows.

“As far as the offense goes, there will be some changes. I’m hiring Jimmy Klingler as my offensive coordinator. He was the offensive coordinator when I was at Manvel. He’s currently the offensive coordinator at Galveston Ball. He’ll be my assistant head coach over the offense. We’re going to be a little more multiple, a little bit more spread. He should be here the first day of strength and conditioning (June 10),” Crocker said.

Memorial fans have probably forgotten that the Mavs once went 83 consecutive games without being shut out. That entire streak, with the exception of four contests, came under Snelson’s watch.

“When I was the Friendswood DC and he was at Dickinson, he was on the opposite side running the offense. It was very challenging to match up with his offensive mindset. I think he made me a better football coach, trying to stop him for sure,” Crocker said of Snelson.

Because Memorial isn’t holding spring drills, they’ll be permitted to start fall workouts on Aug. 5. That also means they’ll get two scrimmages before kicking off the real deal against Kempner on the road.

The Mavs will scrimmage La Porte, followed by Aldine Nimitz.

ravery@hcnonline.com