A welcome return to Cuero
June 13, 2012 at 1:13 a.m.
Travis Reeve stops in mid-sentence as one of Cuero's receivers breaks open during a Tuesday night 7 on 7 game at Memorial Stadium.
The ball hits the receiver's hands before falling to the turf, eliciting a groan from the Cuero fans.
"Catch the stinking ball," Reeve mutters to no one in particular.
The response comes as no surprise to those who were around when Reeve served as the Gobblers' offensive coordinator under his father, Mark, Cuero's athletic director and head football coach.
Travis Reeve admits he's an emotional person and has no plans to change since returning to Cuero after a two-year absence to become the Gobblers' athletic director and head football coach.
"I think you've got to be yourself," Reeve says. "I think the kids know when you're being real and when you're trying to be somebody different. We want our kids to play with emotion. We want our kids to be excited about being there every day. We feel like if you want your kids to play that way, you need to coach that way. I think you've got to be yourself and the kids respect that."
Reeve won't second guess his decision to leave Cuero to become an assistant at San Antonio Churchill when his father resigned to become the defensive coordinator at Texas Lutheran University after the 2009 season.
He left a team that had been to the Class 3A, Division I semifinals, had made five semifinal appearances in six seasons and had not lost a district game in seven seasons.
Reeve returned with his son Blake, a senior, to become a head coach for the first time and took over a team that went 3-7 last season and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
"There's a lot of things the same," Reeve says. "The kids that are here are the kids that I've known. A lot of them are my son's age and we've known them for a long time. The expectations in Cuero are still the same. Winning's important and doing things the right way is important too."
Cuero will run the same offense and defense it did when Mark Reeve was the head coach and Gobblers fans will notice other similarities.
"My dad was very hands on," Travis Reeve says. "He was very involved. Different head coaches take different approaches. Some are going to hire two coordinators and let them do it. His philosophy was he was going to hire somebody opposite of him and was going to take one side of the ball and give the other side of the ball to the other person. But he knew everything that was going on. That's a philosophy I believe in too and that's the way we're going to do things."
Reeve has already hired new coaches and put the players through an abbreviated Boot Camp, while spending a lot of time during the athletic period on the field.
"We're teaching our kids our offensive and defensive schemes," Reeve says. "We're setting the tone as far as our expectations for our work ethic and the things we feel like are going to be important for us to win."
Reeve has coached in Cuero long enough to know losing will not be tolerated.
"Every year is a new year," he says. "When we were here before and we went to the semifinals, we'd have a lot of kids graduate and everybody would say, 'They're not going to be as good next year.'
"Every team is a different team. It doesn't matter what the prior year's record was. I think what you have to focus on is what does this team need to do to win. Getting the right pieces of the puzzle in the right place and then just working your tail off getting better every day."
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.