BISHOP, Texas — The air around the Bishop football program is different in 2020. At practice, players are flying around, pads are cracking and the excitement is building.
That is the magic of new head coach Louie Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is a first-time head coach, but has plenty of experience. He spent time as a graduate assistant at Boise State University under future hall-of-fame head coach Chris Peterson, followed by time at national powerhouse Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, where he was the offensive coordinator.
All of the knowledge he holds has arrived in Bishop.
"Just -- to get little bits and pieces from everybody to put in a program, and instill it, is awesome," he said.
His presence has changed the mentality of the program's players, and has even opened the door to new players such as junior Marcos Hernandez.
"I didn't play football last year," Hernandez said. "I found out this new coach was coming and I knew he was going to be a huge difference to this program."
Rodriguez made an instant impact from the jump, changing the program from the top down.
The Badgers won their first game of the season over Hebbronville, 28-20, and Rodriguez was named the 3A Coach of the Week by Dave Campbell's Texas Football.
"It's a complete culture change," said junior Thomas Bearden. "Everybody has bought in."
Practices feel like a game.
"He's very intense -- but that's what gets us better," Hernandez said.
You could say that Bishop is a little different from Las Vegas. Goodbye to the bright lights of the Vegas strips, and hello to Bishop, where the Friday night lights are the brightest.
Rodriguez loves it.
"We have the mayor coming to practice!" he said. "It's good coming in on a Saturday and hearing 'Hey, good job coach' from the community."
He has a long history of success, and he plans on bringing that over to Bishop. He wants to take the small town to the big stage, and his players are ready.
"We're all bought in, and our goal is to go to a state championship," Bearden said.
The Badgers are ready to get to work and Rodriguez is poised to be the man who turns them into a powerhouse for years to come.
"Our mission is to win a district championship and a state championship with character, integrity, class and academic excellence," he said.