It is no secret the Peninsula football team lost a huge chunk of its starting offense from last year's CIF Southern Section Division 11 finalist squad.
Peninsula returns two starters, Jack Haworth and center Daniel Meyeroff.
Haworth began the year as a wide receiver before finding himself under center following Ethan Gretzinger's injury during the second round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
This year, he's been the clear-cut No. 1 choice under center for fourth-year coach Dave Young.
"We had some pretty good quarterback competitions, but Jack beat out the competition," Young said. "He's treating it like it's his fourth year on varsity, and he's taken every opportunity and uses every single practice to make it the best he can be."
In Young's eyes, it’s not about the talent surrounding Haworth, it's inexperience in front of him. Peninsula is tabbed with replacing Jason Augello, Zack Denney, Wyatt Chang and Carlos Ocegueda on the offensive line.
"We're plugging in four guys," Young said. "We have a brand new offensive line coach, too. They're getting better every day, but it took them a while to find their way."
Defensively, Peninsula brings back six of its 11 starters, and Young made it known early that one must earn his time on the defense.
"We've made some changes defensively, and what I've seen so far is guys are excited about playing defense and running to the football," Young said. "We created a different energy about how the defense is run and played. We're not a deep team, but we're more competitive in practice."
Young noted the competition among linebackers and defensive backs are a few areas that have stood out to him during summer practices.
"Of the nine linebackers we have, everyone takes it to each other. With the defensive backs, the guys don't slip in practice," Young said. "It's really good to see them competing. We made it cut and dry wit the kids that there are only so many guys playing defense, and it's created a very competitive style of practice."
Peninsula kicks off its 2019 season Thursday against Cypress, and Young is hoping the Panthers nonleague schedule can not only help with preparations for its Bay League schedule, but another deep run, this year in the CIF-SS Division 10 playoffs.
"Cypress plays a tough brand of football, and we found out we have to play at that level if we want to do what we did last year," Young said.
Young isn't discrediting the players Peninsula has available to start the season, but he knows when league play starts Oct. 4 against Leuzinger, he will have five players that are new to Peninsula, including a transfer from rival Palos Verdes.
"We have a lot of guys who can play and if they reach their potential, we could see ourselves playing the same team (Western High) at the end of the year," Young said.
With 22 seniors returning from last year's squad, Young is not lowering his level of expectations, especially with the number of new faces Peninsula has on its offense.
"I expect us to have a good year in the sense that our seniors have been through it for four years. They know the rigor of what's to come, and they've been successful," Young said. "I'm really looking forward to a successful year and these guys have worked hard for it, but that doesn't come without remembering it's not about what's in the past."