Although the Wolverines couldn’t match that success in 2013, after taking a major hit to graduation, the numbers took a substantial rise. Roughly 60 players participated in this year’s spring practice under new coach Matt Casper.
It’s a new start for the Walker football program after former coach John East resigned to become athletic director at the Christian Academy of Knoxville in Tennessee.
Casper spent the previous seven years as an assistant to Mike Muschamp at Lovett, and helped lead the Lions to the Class AA state championship last year as running backs coach.
For Casper, spring practice was focused strictly on offense, and him reverting back to his college roots in terms of what type of offense he wants the Wolverines run. He will be leaning toward the option, which he ran while a quarterback and a graduate assistant coach at Ithaca College in upstate New York.
“I’m actually going back to my college days,” Casper said. “We’re doing more speed option. That’s our personnel right now. We want to find that guy, option him and not get into a situation where we have to block the team’s best defender on the field. We want to try to find the guy not to block.”
Casper said Walker is going to be a “run-first” team, with the intent to shorten the game by controlling clock. His offense will resemble the one Walker employed two years ago, when Evan Kasian rushed for 2,080 and 27 touchdowns.
Casper will be keeping Walker’s passing game simple, wanting it to be more vertical.
With Cameron Bloebaum graduating, James Pittinger is the likely candidate to take his place at quarterback. A few other players Casper said stood out this spring were offensive lineman Ben Snavely, wide receiver Matt Weaver and running backs Jake Reini and J.T. Wood.
“Spring was valuable in regards of basic football, from huddle to stance and ball security,” Casper said. “We laid down a foundation as we move into summer and get into some scheme-related stuff.”
Having recently brought in a new defensive coordinator in Lamar Howard of St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie, La., Casper will wait until summer to begin installing Walker’s new defense. However, he did say the Wolverines will be based out of the 4-3 alignment, while also throwing some 4-4 fronts.