Sunday’s question didn’t make it onto the blog due to “technical difficulties.” Here it is, to be followed shortly by today’s question No. 14.
Very few, if any, of our readers on Prep Corner can remember Bishop O’Dowd High football without Paul Perenon on the sideline. But that will change on Sept. 11 when the Dragons open up at home against Alameda.
What will Bishop O’Dowd be like in the Hardy Nickerson/post-Paul Perenon era?
The Dragons haven’t broken in a new head football coach since 1985. That’s well before anybody currently playing high school and probably college football were even born. Yours truly was only a few years old back then. So it’s sure to be a little bit of a shock to see someone else on the sidelines running things at O’Dowd. Perenon, for all his criticisms and all his praises (both have been plentiful on this blog), established a winning culture for the majority of his tenure with only two losing seasons in his 25 years.
That means Nickerson takes over a program that has and always will have expectations. Simply based on the success O’Dowd has had in football (and even its other sports), a season where the Dragons hover around .500 is not considered good enough. (To be clear, I’m not saying that’s my opinion, but from reading the room it seems to be the prevailing opinion from observers). With Nickerson’s NFL pedigree as a standout player and even his one-year stint as an NFL assistant, he seems like a guy who should be easily able to handle that pressure. You don’t perform on the big stage of the NFL and get scared away by any expectations, especially at the high school level.
Another advantage that Nickerson’s NFL pedigree will provide him is I’d expect the program to maintain the same type of discipline that Perenon instilled. The players are used to a coach running a tight ship and Nickerson is used to a disciplined environment and that should mesh well. Nickerson isn’t a stranger either, having served on the staff last year as linebackers coach. That should help make the transition as smooth as possible when your talking about a 25-year head coach moving on.
The one aspect that may play the biggest role is something I couldn’t answer. And that’s any possible backlash from the remaining players on the team that feel bitterness toward the way Perenon’s tenure at O’Dowd ended. I don’t know and I won’t speculate that there are any players with those types of feelings, but it’s possible. However, my belief is most high school players are pretty good about just focusing on playing football since their enjoyment of the game is what drives them to go out on the field every day. So I would guess there will be very limited outside distractions, except of course for when Mt. Eden comes in to face O’Dowd on Oct. 16.
Outside of that, I think O’Dowd should be well-prepared to fight toward having another successful season.