Q: When you think back over your first few months on the job, what’s been the biggest learning curve for you and your staff?
A: The academic criteria we have to meet in Division I to keep everything moving forward is not a challenge but constantly at the forefront of what we’re thinking about. On the field, the difference in the size and speed of the athletes is, for the most part, different than what we saw in Division II. The number of people in our organization is so much different. There are a lot more moving parts.
Q: In early August, your players report back for fall practice, and the season starts a month later. Where is your team in relation to where you need it to be entering the summer?
A: That’s hard to say because I’ve never coached in the Southland Conference. But I’m cautiously optimistic about the season. The attitude of our student-athletes has been really good, and we’ve received a lot of positive feedback from them. We’re trying to get them out in the community and do more to raise awareness about our program. (Through the first of May, Dorrel’s players had performed more than 350 hours of community service.)
Q: What kind of recruiting advantage will Wildcat Stadium provide to this program over others in the Southland Conference and beyond?
A: You can feel the excitement building each day. I don’t know if I can quantify yet how big of a game-changer Wildcat Stadium is going to be, but it’s been a huge hit with every recruit we’ve brought to campus, including guys who have played at the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) level.
Q: How does your team look entering the 2017 season?
A: I was very impressed with (returning starting quarterback) Dallas Sealey in the spring. He was everything we asked him to be before spring drills started, and we saw the growth we expected. I also was very impressed with running backs De’Andre Brown and Tracy James. They’re going to provide us with a great 1-2 punch in the backfield. We’re not where we need to be yet on offense, but we have skill players who can really make things happen with the ball in their hands. Defensively, we need to improve. Several guys were impressive in spring camp, but that’s the area where we’ve concentrated on this spring and summer in terms of getting help for the upcoming season.
LEARN MORE: A new day in Wildcat football dawns Sept. 16, 2017, when the Wildcats head home for good. Get a glimpse of the new Wildcat Stadum, and read about the new experience GameDay will become for the ACU and Abilene community.