Having just completed a successful spring session with the deepest roster the school has had in years, things are looking up for East and the Wolverines as they prepare for the 2012 season.
East, a former athletic director at Whitefield Academy, inherited a team coming off a 3-7 season in 2011 under Ben Williamson, who stepped aside as coach after the season but has remained at the school as an administrator.
East said the Wolverines are off to a strong start in their preparations for the 2012 campaign.
“Everything is going great,” he said. “We met all of our goals for the spring. Our athletic director, Gary Blohm, has been very supportive, and my assistant head coach, Pat Hall, has been a big help.”
Installing a new multiple offense was one of the top priorities for East in the spring, and the Wolverines made great strides towards that goal.
“We installed most of our offense,” East said. “We got 80 to 85 percent of our offense in.”
One of the biggest reasons for increased optimism at Walker is the team’s growing roster. The varsity squad has already increased by nearly 20 from the 35 of a year ago.
“One of our goals was to increase the numbers on our team,” East said. “Right now, we have 54 players and counting. We expect more to join us in August.”
Another plus for East is the solid core of leadership he will have on the field, with 19 seniors on the Wolverines’ roster.
“It’s huge to have that number of seniors,” East said. “Just the leadership these guys bring is a huge plus for us.”
Leading the way among the seniors is running back Evan Kasian, the team’s leading rusher last year with 1,247 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Mike Ramsey, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound rising senior, will move from the offensive line to work at outside linebacker. He will also contribute on the offensive side at running back.
Offensive linemen Mitchell Boylan and Colin Mitchell are among the other top rising seniors.
Rising junior Cameron Bloebaum and rising sophomore James Pittinger will share time at quarterback, while rising junior tight end Gavin Crouch and rising junior Jack Johnson are among the other key players.
Walker will also be boosted by a plethora of promising newcomers, with rising senior wide receiver Zack Fox and rising senior tight end William Wynn leading the way.
While most of the new players have little to no playing experience, East is excited by the potential that his newcomers show.
“A lot of these guys have little to no experience, but these guys can play,” he said. “These are guys who can contribute for us right away.”
East’s team will get a big test even before the season begins, when the Wolverines host Class A state runner-up Landmark Christian for a preseason scrimmage Aug. 17. The next week, Walker will host Temple in its season-opener.