The Meridian Star
It's a brand new season.
No, but really — like a brand new season for the East Central Warriors.
New assistant coaches.
New team… with 44 new freshmen.
(And a new beat writer.)
If any Warrior has a superstition about the number 13, it needs to be put aside for the 2013 season because they have enough pulling them down.
But the season won’t be a complete loss, even if they go 0-10, because it’s the start of a new era — possibly a winning era. First year head coach Ken Karcher is adamant about turning the program around for the long run.
He's brought in a hand picked staff to help him and, eventually, hopes to reshape East Central’s recruiting in the process.
But first thing is first. He needs to mold what he has into something others want to be, which starts tonight.
New is the essence of the season — a chance to start over, fresh and everyone at 0-0 at kickoff.
With 44 guys coming off high school ball, they need to be looking to prove they belong in JUCO ball. The same needs to be said about the coaching staff.
Karcher and five of his six assistant coaches have no JUCO coaching experience. Don’t run away screaming just yet.
They all have a mixture of Division 1 and pro league experience.
“Football is football,” Karcher said in a preseason interview.
He isn’t worried. The staff doesn’t know the league first hand, but is confident no team can throw a play they haven’t seen before and are looking forward to the matchup with Itawamba to break open the MACJC for them.
He’s optimistic but realistic for the opener, but also the program going forward. It starts with who the athletes are.
Karcher wants guys that will work.
He won’t tolerate kids just there to play football. He wants to have more of a role than just the on-the-field-whistle blower. He’s looking to mold the lives of youth, while transforming a sorry football program.
Hired in February, he laid down the law that players will be held to the same standards as Division 1 athletes: class, practice, sleep, class, practice, sleep. Repeat — no excuses.
On the field and in the weight room, there will be no lollygagging or pity parties. If Karcher and his staff are going to put in 110 percent, so are the athletes.
It’s a complete 180 for the program, evident in just six returning from last year’s roster that went 3-6.
A nightmare waiting to happen? Not so much.
Any given year in JUCO ball, half the roster is new. So this year was a slightly larger recruiting class, which is the mindset they need to take for a good first impression.
Stepping out for the coin flip won’t be anyone’s first. They’ve played ball and need to keep on pushing just like the have done since the peewee leagues, after all, it’s how they got here.
Youth on the field and in the coaching staff can’t be a bad thing before the first snap.
It should be motivation and a chance to prove that being all the new is a good thing.