The questions have come at odd times and odd places, with each reminding G.W. Carver players and coaches exactly what’s expected of them this season.
Harvey Harris was in a local video game store looking to have his Wii worked on when someone walked up and asked.
Shaun Rupert had a college coach drop it on him. Jeremy Johnson fielded it from a Ole Miss campmate from Georgia.
Billy Gresham was in the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, “wearing regular clothes,” when a stranger confidently asked if he was Carver’s coach.
“I don’t know how the guy recognized me,” Gresham said. “He said, ‘Coach, y’all going to win state this year. That’s what I heard.'”
Carver Nation, its appetite whetted by a state basketball championship 5½ months ago, has spoken.
“It makes you work harder so you won’t disappoint,” Rupert, a defensive back, said. “We talk about it every day. We have a good team and we all grew up together.
“This is the best chance to win a state championship that any of us have had.”
Those grand hopes rest on the nine starters that return on offense, including quarterback Johnson, an Auburn commitment, and the confidence spawned from the school’s basketball success.
The Wolverines, once fearful of a so-called “Carver Curse,” have pronounced its demise.
“The basketball team won a state championship and now we’re striving to win one, too,” running back/cornerback Harris said. “There’s been a lot of talk. We hear every day how we should win state and how we have the best team.
“Everybody is in our head.”
Carver, with championship aspirations the last four years, watched them end quickly in 2011.
The 34-27 first-round playoff loss to Murphy included six turnovers, one inside the 2. Murphy also converted a third-and-20 on its final drive with a deflected pass reception.
Such plays no longer have a place, at least against the Wolverines.
“This year, we have a lot to prove. We have a lot of expectations,” said Johnson, who is also a basketball star. “I know how it feels to be a champion. I need to lead this team and let them know how to get to state.
“The Carver Curse is over.”