Now entering his 26th year of coaching, Lake Dallas head football coach Michael Young has experience in spades. He graduated high school in 1989, going on to play football for Friends University in Wichita, Kan.
With his Falcons entering District 7-5A Division II for the 2020 and 2021 seasons following the UIL’s biennial district realignment, Lake Dallas will compete against Denison, Frisco, Frisco Lebanon Trail, Frisco Liberty, Frisco Memorial, Lovejoy, Princeton and Prosper Rock Hill.
Young was gracious enough to sit down with Star Local Media to chat about realignment, the current global coronavirus pandemic, how the Falcons plan to replace the key departures of Kobee Minor (Texas Tech) and Brandon Engel (Air Force) and how he became a Las Vegas Raiders fan.
What excites you about this year's Lake Dallas football team?
Young: We don't have a lot of starters back but we have a whole lot more kids who have experience Friday night-wise than last year. That's one thing I like.
The second thing I like is we have more competition at positions. Last year, we were so thin everywhere. There was very little competition, which I don't think is good anywhere. And there was also a big drop-off whenever somebody had to come out of the game, whether they got injured or not.
The competition is going to be a lot better, so that's good. I'm excited about our sophomore class. There are some old-time coaches who would say that every sophomore that you have starting is a game that you're going to lose.
That's not the case.
We're going to be counting on a lot of guys from that group. I'm excited about them and I think they're going to do great things. We need them to grow up in a hurry for us to make the playoffs.
Your team lost two marquee players in defensive back Kobee Minor (Texas Tech) and quarterback/wide receiver Brandon Engel (Air Force) to graduation. How do you plan to fill those voids?
Young: These young guys are going to have to fill a lot of that. We've got way more depth at quarterback. We've got Trevor Moon back. We've got some other younger guys that can play quarterback. We had some games that we went into last year with one quarterback.
When Engel got hurt, Trevor was there. We didn't even really have a backup. So, we have more depth at quarterback which is nice. Brendan Sorsby has looked really good in spring and in the summer. Michaiah Brooks, a sophomore, we think can be a good quarterback. He's going to battle at quarterback, but he can also help us at receiver. He's a talented kid that is very athletic.
We had a kid, Trevor Morgan, a senior quarterback, move in. He gives us good depth. He'll battle, too.
How much of a positive attitude have your players displayed during Falcon Pride summer strength and conditioning workouts, despite practicing during uncertain times with the current global coronavirus pandemic?
Young: They've handled it well. We've talked in here some with some of the coaches that it's hard on them because they constantly hear and see, like me, “Are we going to play football?” I think these kids are hearing the same kind of stuff.
I can't imagine them coming in here and it's hot and they're busting their tail, but there is that constant thing: “Are we even going to get to play?”
It's a lot different than times before, when it was 105 degrees, but we know, for sure, in three weeks, that we're going to be playing, we're going to be scrimmaging somebody here in a month.
There is always this constant thing in their minds, “How is this going to go?” I credit them for the way that they have worked and handled it, because it is different. I'm hoping that we're going to play. It sounds good that we're going to get to play.
What are your preliminary thoughts on District 7-5A Division II?
Young: It's going to be tough. I know that Denison is bringing back a lot of people. They beat Frisco at the end of (last) year. I've seen in some magazines where they've been picked to finish ahead of Frisco, which shows just how good it is.
I think Frisco is a top 10 team in the state in (Class 5A) Division II. We have two really good ones at the top.
But, I think after that, everybody is a lot the same. I see Lovejoy, us, Memorial, Frisco, Liberty, Princeton being up there. I think they're all pretty similar.
Every week, it's going to be a lot of good games. I don't see anybody in our district going undefeated. I think it's going to be one of those years where you play your best game every week and not give games away.
How did you become a Las Vegas Raiders fan?
Young: I grew up in Kansas, so it's even stranger. My parents and family, aunts, uncles are really big-time (Kansas City) Chiefs fans. For some reason, I became a Raiders fan.
Back in the mid-to-late 70s, the Raiders were really good. There were a lot of people who became Raiders fans in those days. I kind of got into football in 1976, 1977. They were, from about that time, in the early- to mid-1970s, they were just as good as anybody else.
That's when I really became a football fan.
Who are your all-time favorite Raiders?
Young: Kenny Stabler has always been one of my favorite quarterbacks. There are just so many. I really like the offensive linemen: Gene Upshaw and Art Shell.
We've always had great centers, great, great wide receivers. A lot of fast guys. Cliff Branch, he just passed away probably six or eight months ago [Aug. 3, 2019]. He was one of my favorites a long time ago. John Matuszak. They've had a lot of character guys.
They've also had a lot of guys who were characters: Lyle Alzado, Matt Millen. They were fun to watch.