John Walters had an immediate goal when he was hired as Glenbard East's football coach in the off-season.
"We created a little bit of a buzz," Walters said. "We've got a lot of new faces, and that should help us."
Walters, the team's defensive coordinator the last two seasons and a former coach at York and West Chicago, beat the bushes while getting more athletes to play for the Rams. The result is a 74-player roster a vast improvement from last year when Glenbard East dressed only 34 players for one game.
With five returning starters on each side of the ball, Walters believes he's been dealt a hand with talent and loaded with speed.
Although it's a completely new secondary, the defense should be a strength with six of the front seven returning. That includes outside linebacker Chris Milligan, who played his first two years at Glenbard East but not as a junior.
Fellow linebackers Roy Williams, Don Wichman and Brian Sanborn all return to form a formidable group. Nate Kolar and Angelo Walker are back on the defensive line.
"I love our front seven," Walters said. "We're big and physical. Physically I think we can match up with anyone. Mentally we have to be better than we were last year."
Offensively the Rams are switching to a spread attack to take advantage of their speedy group of receivers. They hope to benefit from three returning linemen and the emergence of junior quarterback Joe Kotch, who started one game as a sophomore. The Rams also have depth at running back, although the ground game won't see as much of an emphasis this season compared to past years.
It's been 12 years since Glenbard East's last winning record and sole playoff appearance. The buzz will be much louder if the Rams can break both streaks.
"It's real simple this season," Walters said. "We want to make the playoffs and play that 10th game. It's been a long time since we've done that, and now's the time to do it."
Coach: John Walters (first year; second year overall, 2-7).
2010 record: 3-6, 1-6, seventh in DuPage Valley Conference.
Top players: John Nebbia (OL, 6-2, 250, sr.); Eriberto Carreon (OL-DL, 6-1, 230, sr.); A.J. Asuncion (OL, 6-3, 275, sr.); Joe Kotch (QB, 5-10, 280, jr.); Javonte Burnett (jr., 5-11, 185, RB); Roy Williams (LB-WR, 6-1, 195, sr.); Nate Kolar (DL, 6-1, 225, sr.); Angelo Walker (DL, 6-3, 305, sr.); Don Wichman (LB, 5-10, 190, sr.); Brian Sanborn (LB, 6-1, 195, sr.); Frank Loconti (K, 5-7, 155, sr.); Ted Bostert (RB, 6-1, 210, sr.).
Fri, Aug 26 Willowbrook 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 2 @ Lake Park 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 9 @ Naperville C. 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 16 Glenbard North 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 23 @ Wheaton North 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 30 Naperville North 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 7 @ West Chicago 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 14 WW South 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 21 @ West Aurora 7:30 p.m.