Southlake Carroll HS
NR: 56 SR: 31 Rating: ***
An Inside Texas conversation with Carroll head coach Todd Dodge on Adam Ulatoski:
IT: What are Adam's strengths as a football player?
Dodge: First of all is his endless work ethic. He's a guy that as a junior was first-team all-state on a 16-0 team, was offered in mid-spring, went ahead and committed and had all the reasons in the world to hang on his previous laurels and he absolutely has improved tremendously between this time last year and right now and you just don't see that very often that an athlete can have that kind of junior year and come back and have even a better senior year and really improve himself not only physically but with great technique. We're a team that throws the ball between 30 and 35 times a game over his 32 game career and he has not given up a sack in 32 games in an offense that throws the ball that much.
IT: What did the Texas coaches tell you that they like about Adam?
Dodge: He's a very intelligent player, a very good student. He's not only an all-state football player he also academic all-state. His upside as a younger player was his pass blocking ability and it still is. He's as good a pass blocker at this level as you'll find in the nation. The thing that has improved so much is his run blocking because of his added work in the weight room. He's got great feet. He's 6-6, 285 pounds and he'll run you about a 5-flat every time in the 40-yard dash so he really runs well and moves his feet well for a kid his size.
IT: I know the No. 1 attribute that Coach McWhorter looks for in his linemen is great feet...
Dodge: In an offensive lineman, you've got to have great feet, especially in the offense that he's been playing in with all the pass blocking and kicking out on speed rushes that he's been asked to do, so yes, he has tremendous feet and he's very agile. And again, that's always been his upside. He does a great job of playing with his hands. You see a lot of high school offensive linemen that really don't understand how to play with their hands and play with leverage and he really does. Our offensive line coach Scott Dukatnik was a former all-conference offensive guard. I coached him at North Texas and he's done a great job of tutoring Adam. He's a pretty complete player. The thing that he'll continue to improve when they get him to Austin is from the strength standpoint. He's got a lot of God-given ability as far as feet and rhythm in his feet.
IT: Can he play at either tackle spot?
Dodge: Either side. He was our left tackle, that's where most people put their best pass blocker depending on what hand the quarterback throws with. I think when people recruited him and all the offers started rolling in last spring, that's what people saw first of all, the pass sets, his quickness and being able to extend on people, lock people out. I think that's one thing he's going to have an upper hand on going into his college career over a lot of people is he has been asked to pass protect quite a bit. He's very polished going into his college career.
IT: Does he have the frame to carry a lot more weight?
Dodge: I can see him playing somewhere between 300 and 310 and not giving up the assets he has, his quickness. He's definitely got the frame, redistributing the weight on his body, and that's all he's done since we've had him. He's improved. And I have no reason to doubt that that's all he'll continue to do because of he's one of those kids, he's not one to ever think he's arrived. When you have that type of attitude and work ethic, you have a chance to really go places.
IT: What are the areas of his game that Adam needs to improve upon to be successful at the next level?
Dodge: Strength. I think the biggest thing is his strength (and) getting accustomed as quickly as possible to the speed of the college game. The biggest thing is strength because obviously the players he'll be going against are 30-40 pounds heavier than the players he's been going against and 2 or 3 tenths faster in the forty, but that goes to every position.
IT: What did Adam mean to your football program?
Dodge: We've got a saying in our program, we try to get our players to understand the schizophrenic nature of football. That being, off the field and in the classroom we want you to be the perfect gentleman and on the field, we want you to snap a little bit. He is definitely is that. He'll flat out get after it. Very tenacious but a very nice kid, very mild mannered, very polite, very nice kid and I think that's what coach Brown is looking for. The program that he runs, it exudes class and the kids he recruits have got class. Adam found that out real quickly, when he got around the coaching staff, that it was a great fit for what he wanted and the way he wants to be coached and the program that he wants to be in.
IT: Looking back on Adam's high school career, what stands out to you the most?
Dodge: His overall consistency. He literally has not given up a sack. And he's an outstanding football player. The most impressive thing about him is you just don't find guys that had the kind of junior year that he had and come back -- and that's a real challenge to a guy like that to have a better senior year -- and he really, really had a better senior year because of his work in the off-season. He was a better player because of his work ethic. He committed early for all the right reasons. And he's already starting to prepare himself to play college football. He'll throw the shot and disc this spring. Lot of kids get senioritis big-time, but our younger kids still see him (working). He's here at 6:30 in the morning lifting weights.
IT: What did Adam mean to your football program?
Dodge: He's not given up a sack in two years. He's been the left tackle for back-to-back class 5A offensive players of the year. Chase Wasson in 2002 and Chase Daniel in 2003. There have been 96 touchdown passes thrown and he has not given up a single sack. There's a correlation between him being in our line-up and the production that we've had. Since he's started for us, in 32 games, we averaged 44 points a game and nearly 460 yards a game total offense and he's made back-to-back first-team all-state and he made an All-American team this year.
He went guns ablazin' into his senior year and was a captain on our team and part of a senior class that led us back to the state championship game. We were one point away from 32 wins and back-to-back state championships. The two years he played on varsity, he's only been in one loss. He knows how to win at the high school level. That will help prepare him for the next level. At our level, he's played at about as big of venues in front of as big of crowds, been on TV, all that kind of stuff, that you could at the high school level, so those kinds of things have helped prepare him also.
IT: Is Adam a leader, and if so, how does he lead?
Dodge: He's a great leader. One of those kind of kids, he was a captain and he took it upon himself as a senior -- it's not in his personality to be real outspoken, real boisterous, but he flat out just picked all the right times to make point to his teammates in a vocal way. The lead by example was always there. I guarantee you, the kids on our team to a man they'd say that they respect him. I think they see a guy that is a great player that is one of the hardest working kids we have. I think when you have guys like Adam Ulatoski on your team, that builds good team chemistry. I think he will continue to be a great player, but I think people will always see his work ethic also. You have a guy that has great God-given ability that also has a great work ethic. I wouldn't be surprised see him play on Sundays someday.
IT: Anything that we didn't cover that you'd like to add?
Dodge: I'm particularly proud of him. I've been in coaching for 17 years and I've never had one that I've coached that has gone to my alma mater. This is the first player that I've coached that's gone to The University of Texas. We haven't ever had a player that they've offered and so I'm really proud of him and am going to follow his career extra close.
*Photos by Will Gallagher/Inside Texas*
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