Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Texas Longhorns [Print without images]

Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Q&A: Arlington Martin coach Bob Wager

By William Wilkerson

Longhorns running back commitment Kyle Hicks (Arlington, Texas/Martin) endured a broken foot during the playoffs last season and the added responsibility of playing quarterback for the Warriors this season.

Through it all he has still produced at a level that should make Texas fans giddy for his arrival in Austin.

Kyle Hicks
Texas running back Kyle Hicks is going to be a 'phenom' according to his high school coach.
Hicks, the No. 236 recruit overall, has rushed 168 times for 1,105 yards and 22 touchdowns while doubling as a quarterback, where he’s completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 461 yards and six touchdowns. Martin is 7-2 overall and 6-0 in District 3-5A and will play Arlington Bowie (6-0 in 3-5A) for a district title on Thursday.

HornsNation caught up with Martin coach Bob Wager to discuss what he’s seen from Hicks this season and what he expects from him in college:

HornsNation: What kind of person are the Longhorns getting in Kyle?

Bob Wager: They are getting an unselfish, team-first, tough, explosive leader.

HN: Does the leadership aspect of his game come normally, or is it something he’s had to work on?

Wager: I think it’s a combination of several things. I think he’s had a lot of good mentors along the way, not from just from a coach’s standpoint, but from a player’s standpoint. That’s one of the special things happening at our program is the older players take our younger players under their wing. Our younger players embrace that mentorship and then pass it on. He has become more and more comfortable in that role.

HN: Is Oklahoma running back Danzel Williams one of those players?

Wager: Danzel Williams, [TCU DE] Devonte Fields. [TCU LB] Deryck Gildon is a great example, too.

HN: Danzel was the No. 64 player in country in 2011. How would you compare Kyle and Danzel?

Wager: They both have this extra quick step that is innate. As you watch them break in the open field it really becomes a situation when you are standing on the sideline and he squares up a defender and I really have no idea what is going to happen except it’s going to be really cool. Then you go back and watch it in slow motion, the number of times that their feet touch the ground so rapidly is very cool. I wish I could say that any of our coaches had the fast-twitch muscle fibers to teach that, but we don’t.

HN: What one aspect of Kyle’s game is really going to surprise some people once he gets to Texas?

Wager: His diversity as a player. He is a terrific receiver whether he is out of the backfield or as a receiver. Now he has played three quarters of this season as a quarterback. His ability to comprehend what everyone is doing will benefit him immensely from the running back standpoint.

HN: How soon can he make an impact for the Longhorns?

Wager: Immediately. I mean I am not at their practice every day, and that is not to take away from all of the great players they have there. That is purely based on my opinion of Kyle’s greatness. He’s going to be a phenom. He is right now.

HN: What kind of running back is Kyle?

Wager: He is 195 pounds so he will pound it in between the tackles. But he is elusive. He is so versatile that he can play anywhere. He can run it, throw it and fake it. Just use your imagination and he can do it. He is a great screen guy and a terrific route-runner when spread out.

HN: Kyle broke a bone in his foot on the first play of your third-round playoff game last season and went on to finish with 20 carries for 113 yards and a 19-yard game-clinching TD run. What does that say about his toughness and unselfishness, too?

Wager: None of us knew it because he didn’t even mention it. It was cold and I think that sums it up. He never made mention of it to anyone, goes on and scores the game-winner late in the game. He got it checked out the next week and brings it again the next week against Southlake Carroll. There was never a question. I think it exemplifies his unselfishness and toughness. He’s a winner, buddy. He is one of the most humble players I’ve ever been around. He has no idea that he is a rock star. He really doesn’t. He hangs out with the offensive linemen, you interview him and he immediately and genuinely gives thanks to everyone else.