Dodge bringing QB expertise to Oil Bowl

The Oil Bowl just may have hit the daily double on Saturday.
By getting one of the top coaches in Texas in Todd Dodge, the game could also get a record-setting quarterback in Chase Wasson. The talents of those two guys were evident in Southlake Carroll’s 16-0 state championship season in 2002.
Wasson completed 66 percent of his passes (300 of 455) for a Texas record 4,822 yards his senior year and tied the state record with 54 touchdowns. He also ran for 1,062 yards and 14 touchdowns.
In the Class 5A Division II state championship game in which the Dragons dominated Smithson Valley 45-14, Wasson threw for a championship game record 490 yards with five passing touchdowns and one running TD.
But you might expect such from a Todd Dodge-coached team.
Dodge was a stud passing quarterback at Port Arthur Jefferson High School 22 years ago and later started for the University of Texas. After playing in a high school offense that threw the ball 30 to 35 times a game, Dodge may have been a bit ahead of his time at the college level. Back then, it seemed few college teams were really flinging it.
“You could count on one hand the teams who were lighting it up back then,” Dodge said, and then named two, BYU and Louisiana Tech. “I threw for more than 1,700 yards in 1984, and nobody at that time had thrown for that many yards at Texas.”
Dodge said he had even thought about transferring to Louisiana Tech but in hindsight, is glad he didn’t. His 2,791 passing yards still rank No. 8 in Longhorns’ history but are almost 6,000 shy of Texas career leader Major Applewhite, whom Dodge calls the “best ever to play at UT.”
Knowing Todd Dodge’s background, it should come as no surprise that as a head coach he has now turned out back-to-back marquee quarterbacks in first Ricky Lay and then Chase Wasson.
“Coaching quarterbacks is my real passion in football,” said Dodge, who will serve as offensive coordinator for Texas in the June 21 Oil Bowl.
When Wasson showed up at Southlake Carroll in the spring of his sophomore year, Dodge already had Lay penciled in as his starting quarterback in 2001.
“Although he had been a quarterback his whole life, we played him at wide receiver that first year, but we taught him the offense through the eyes of a quarterback,” Dodge explained.
When playoff time rolled around, Wasson was moved to running back. In a 35-21 bi-district win over Wichita Falls, he carried the ball 12 times for 127 yards and scored on a 33-yard touchdown run.
As a senior, he was all quarterback.
With the numbers and the wins that Wasson put up, you would think that every big-time coach in America would be sleeping on his doorstep. But as of right now, only Sam Houston State and Southwest Texas State have shown a real interest in giving him a scholarship.
The Division I recruiters obviously think the 5-11, 180-pounder is too small.
But Dodge, who played for Texas when he was exactly the same size, just can’t understand.
“Put in a video and you’ll see him make all the throws that anybody could want. He can stand on the right hash and throw to his left and put it on a dime. He’s got unbelievable accuracy, and he is also an elusive runner,” the Southlake Carroll coach said.
Dodge said recruiting has become nothing but a “beauty contest.”
“You see all kinds of 6-2 and 6-3 guys filling the sidelines for some of these teams. They can’t play, but they look great,” he said.
Heck, even in the NFL, evaluating quarterbacks is hit and miss. Does the name Ryan Leaf ring a bell?
Just look at three of the four quarterbacks who will start today’s playoff games.
Rich Gannon was a fourth-round draft pick, Brad Johnson a ninth-rounder and Jeff Garcia had to play five seasons in the Canadian Football League before finally catching on with the 49ers.
The big-time colleges could be missing on Chase Wasson.
It looks like the Oil Bowl won’t.
And if the game is really lucky, Dodge may bring a couple of wide receivers — like Scott Chandler and Andrew Hansen.
The 6-7 Chandler, who has committed to Iowa, caught 61 passes for 1,200 yards and 19 touchdowns during the championship season. Hansen, who is nine inches shorter, caught 81 passes for 1,433 yards and 23 TDs.
“Why not just bring the whole Southlake Carroll team?” Marty McBride joked with Dodge at a luncheon Saturday.
Hey, as good as these guys were, the more the merrier.
Sports Editor Nick Gholson can be reached before 4 p.m. weekdays by calling (940) 720-3447 or 1-800-627-1646 (extension 447). Or you can email him at gholsonn@wtr.com.