WELLSBURG -Aaron Walker is on a mission this fall.
The Brooke senior quarterback is out to prove his naysayers wrong.
''I know some people talk on the Internet, some people talk in public,'' he said. ''They doubt me and my team. I'm not happy about it. As of right now, I'm trying to shut them all up.''
File photo/Brooke’s Aaron Walker blows past a Wheeling Park defender. The Bruins’ senior quarterback is out to prove his critics wrong this season.
The odds, however, are against him.
The Bruins are coming off their second consecutive 3-7 season and are also breaking in first-year coach Mac McLean, who was hired just three weeks ago.
Not exactly the ideal situation.
That's where Walker comes in.
His positive attitude and work ethic are two things McLean said are helping make the transition a smooth one.
''I work hard, so when the time comes and it's Friday night, anybody who has something negative to say about us, we're going to shut them up,'' Walker said. ''They'll probably jump on the bandwagon because we'll do something good.''
Big words, but he intends to back them up.
A duel threat, Walker completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 1,060 yards and seven touchdowns in his first full season as a starting quarterback. He rushed and passed for over 100 yards in two games last fall.
The 6-foot signalcaller, who has started at safety since his freshman year, has also hit the gym and bulked up to 200 pounds.
It's all music to the ears of junior receiver Thomas Cole.
Cole (6-5, 220) had a modest sophomore campaign as he caught 28 passes for 484 yards and five touchdowns.
Both are looking for those numbers to increase this season.
The pair have spent all offseason working on their timing and familiarity with one another. So much so, Cole describes their chemistry as ''awesome.''
''It's gotten a lot better,'' Walker noted. ''Last year, I'll be honest, I felt like I wasn't that mature. This offseason, I worked with Thomas a lot.
''We have a nice bond going right now. Whenever we hit the field in June for 7-on-7, me and him just had chemistry. It's unreal this year.''
The tandem's continuity will come into play especially when Walker tries to extend plays with his legs.
''He knows where I'm going to be and I know where he's going to be at all times on the field,'' Cole said. ''I know he has the capability to run, so if he needs me to make a block or something, I'm there to do it for him.''
There is one thing that could cause some tension between the two.
Walker's profile picture on Twitter features him and Indian Creek's Zach Connor. The problem lies with the fact the Redskins and Bruins meet at Brooke Memorial Stadium in Week 1.
''Yeah, what's up with that?'' Cole asked. ''I have a couple questions about that, too.''
''I played baseball in Stuebenville and Zach Crawford played over there,'' he said. ''I've known him since 5th or 6th grade.
''Zach Connor, I met him through Crawford. He's cool. He's not the type of kid to run his mouth saying we're going to beat you. It's Week 1, we're going to be on TV and it's going to be a blast for both of us.''