Six years removed from his last head coaching stint at Cross Creek, the school the Wolfpack will face in their season opener on Friday, Hunt faces a challenge.
The last time the Wolfpack were above .500 was 2003 when they were 7-4.
“We’re very optimistic and the kids are working hard,” Hunt said. “Last year we went 5-5 and we don’t look at it as a rebuilding year. We feel like the kids can go out and compete and they feel like it, too.”
Facing his old school, Hunt has a feel for what to expect.
“They’re going to have some athletes, they always do,” Hunt said. “They’re going to play hard.”
Defensively, the Wolfpack will be strong in the middle with the return of Jamario Thompkins. The senior was second on the team with 85 tackles in nine games last year and was named to the 2011 all-region and all-county teams. He will also be starting on the offensive line.
“I prefer linebacker, but there’s a lot of hitting at guard that I like,” Thompkins said.
“It’s one of the best teams we’ve had in a couple of years. We have four good running backs that can run the ball for us and a defense returning a lot of starters. I’m feeling good about the season.”
On offense, Hunt said the team has some linemen who are going to do well for the team.
He also has returning experience in running back Jeremy Harden and tight end Kris Cannon.
Harden thinks the world of his coach, who was a Wolfpack assistant for four of the past six years.
“He’s a great coach all around. He’s awesome,” Harden said.
The Wolfpack have been working on adjusting to Hunt’s schemes, systems he has been in and used since he played college football at Lenoir-Rhyne.
“Everything is new to everybody,” Hunt said. “We’ve just got to go out and compete hard every day in practice to get better and show that performance on Friday night on the game field.”