Aug 17, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterThe 'Week zero' game is Aug. 24, in Worland. Last year, the Wolverines gave up more than 31 points per game, including a record 54 against Green River at home during the second week of the regular season.
As Riverton High School coach Jeremy McCormick begins his fifth season at the helm of the Riverton football Wolverines, his first comments during a Thursday interview may give a signal that the 2012 edition of his squad may be approaching this season with a renewed sense of urgency.
"We struggled last year. This year there is a huge hunger to do a lot better. The kids are fighting. They worked hard in the weight room this summer," McCormick said.
After last year's season that saw his team finish with 3-6 record -- McCormick's overall record as the RHS head coach is 12-24 not including week-zero games that don't count in the standings -- the coach realizes that his team must improve on both sides of the ball and especially on defense.
A year ago, the Wolverine "D" gave up more than 31 points per game, including a Tonkin Stadium record 54 against Green River at home during the second week of the regular season.
And it is the defense that is already McCormick's top early season concern. The Wolverines have installed a "tweaked" defensive scheme during their first week of two-a-day practices.
"Changing defensive schemes, you always have some questions until you play somebody. It looked good at camp," McCormick said.
The head coach said 74 players have reported for the first week of practice that started Monday and that 10 seniors will lead the Wolverines this year.
"From what we have seen from our seniors in the weight room this summer and last year since the end of the season and this week, they have stepped up and are working hard. We want to see that continue," McCormick said.
The Wolverines will open their season in "week zero" at Worland on Friday, Aug. 24.
"We are going to come out with a plan, and we are still putting that together. It is a game that we want to win, but we also want to look at some kids. We have to have more intensity and be more physical," McCormick said.
Riverton will play its first home game at Wolverine field with its expanded seating and a new concession stand and restrooms the following week against defending state champion Powell on Friday, Aug. 31.
Including the week-zero game, It's only the second time ever that the Wolverines will have played two games in the month of August.
"It (the new seating) is going to be nice. It will be great for the fans. The people are really going to like those stadium seats," McCormick said.
This season, McCormick will turn over Friday night play calling to assistant coach and offensive coordinator Beau Sheets.
"We are looking to be aggressive in our offensive play calling this year.
He (Sheets) is doing a great job so far putting things together. We are going to be fine on Friday," McCormick said.
Time will tell. But it is certain that the Wolverines will approach Friday nights this season differently from a year ago.
"We are in a position right now that everybody is overlooking us, and we have something to prove every game. We have a lot to prove this year and that is a great place to be.
"Last year we kind of rested on what we did the previous year. This year we cannot do that. We have an uphill battle all season long," McCormick said.
Riverton competes in the Class 3-A East conference with Buffalo, Douglas, Lander, Rawlins and Torrington. Besides Powell, Riverton will also play Cody and Green River again this year in its non-conference schedule.
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