08/16/12 — FOOTBALL TAB - Eastern Wayne: Williams has some inexperienced players filling big voids

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FOOTBALL TAB - Eastern Wayne: Williams has some inexperienced players filling big voids

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on August 16, 2012 1:48 PM

Eastern Wayne head coach Bubba Williams is notoriously tight-lipped about his team.

Some years the tactic is simple preseason gamesmanship and others it is due to uncertainty within the Warriors' ranks.

Put 2012 in the latter category.

Williams and his staff are sorting through a pool of talented sophomores to find starters to compliment the team's contingent of returning players. The race to fill spots ultimately came to the down the final practice before Friday's opener against Wilson Hunt.

"We have a small senior class, only about eight guys, and that has provided an opportunity for some younger players to step up into varsity spots," Williams said. "We have eight seniors and 13 juniors which means there is going to be playing time available."

The cloudiness surrounding the depth chart might make some seasoned coaches nervous, but not Williams. The third-year head coach sees the team's youth as an asset in building the program.

"We have been hit pretty hard this year with upperclassmen moving away for various reasons," Williams said. "The positive of that has been that the younger guys have really had to come together quickly and I feel like they have stuck together well in practice."

Eastern Wayne will line up in a triple-option attack this season and will try to utilize its team speed and athleticism at the skill positions.

Jake Wiser and Mitch Pike are battling for the snaps at quarterback. Each brings a different skill set to the table and each will see the field at different times depending on game situations.

"Right now it is about who is going to be more consistent," Williams said. "One guy will come in for a series and make a few plays, and then the other will do the same so they are pushing each other. Mitch has a good eye in the passing game and Jake reads the option well so they both can play."

Williams and his staff got a good look at both signal callers in a scrimmage against perennial 4-A power New Bern last week. While there were plenty of mistakes to correct, the offense looked good against one of the top defenses in eastern North Carolina.

"I honestly think it was the best scrimmage we have had since I've been here," Williams said. "We were able to move the ball and the line did a good job of getting guys blocked."

The Warriors also stood out on defense against the Bears.

There is a chance that as many as seven sophomores could be in the starting lineup on defense for the opening game. The team is set along the defensive line and at cornerback but position battles are ongoing at linebacker and safety.

"Right now all we have to get is a little confidence," Williams said. "We played pretty well against New Bern, but when we allowed a big play we kind of got our heads down. We need to be able to get past a mistake and make the next play."