PLANO — Summer workouts at Plano East High School have a new intensity, thanks to their new football coach Randy Jackson.
His demand for hard work is matched only by his enthusiasm.
"He's always excited, no matter if it's early in the morning, late at night; he has enthusiasm," said Panthers senior quarterback Keith Long. "It's just crazy. I don't know how he does it."
Jackson was hired last month after three years at Mesquite Poteet. There he inherited a team with one win in its previous two years, then took them to the state semi-finals in his first season in 2010.
In three years, the Pirates won 30 games and lost only nine.
The situation is not nearly as dire at Plano East — they were 5-5 in 2012.
According to the University Interscholastic League, Plano East's enrollment is more than 6,000 students, making it easily the biggest high school in the State of Texas. And while that comes with a lot of advantages, the disadvantage is you just don't know your teammates as well.
That's why Jackson breaks his team into "family groups" — not "position groups" — so, for example, a wide receiver can get to know a linebacker better.
Jackson is already demanding that his teammates know each other, or else they run sprints.
"It's harder to quit when you know the guy next to you, and Coach Jackson has been preaching that to them since he's been here," said Jeff Jackson, who has been an assistant coach at Plano East for five years. "You gotta know them; you don't want to quit on them."
"When it gets to crunch time in the fourth quarter, they don't want to let each other down; they don't want to let coaches down and all that," said Randy Jackson. "So I just think that's a huge part of the recipe."
A new coach always brings new hope, but unless he also brings wins, it doesn't really matter.
Jackson has proven he can do that.