One of the first things you'll notice at Aquinas practice: lower numbers. The Blugolds, coming off a disappointing season, have 33 out for the team, compared to 46 last season. They return three starters on defense, four on offense and have to replace standout running back Robert Wettstein.
But it's much easier handling all this your second time around. It's year two for head coach Tom Lee, who took over for Dan Coughlin.
"We were talking just as a staff how much further along we feel than we did 365 days ago," Lee said. "For sure we're more efficient out here on the field. That kind of helps keep practice moving in tempo and that kind of stuff."
His offense is in good hands. Junior quarterback Tyler Young returns, who started eight games last season as a sophomore.
"It was without a doubt baptism by fire for him," said Lee. "I'm sure looking back, when he's at the end of his junior year, compared to the end of his sophomore year, he'll think, oh my gosh, there's a lot of stuff I didn't know!"
"Probably a little more confident than I was at the beginning of last year," said Young. "The coaches really helped us in the off-season, especially with me. Just going to camps and stuff and getting better in the off-season, hopefully it will be a lot better this year."