York, PA - Last season, William Penn was the football version of a Ferrari with flat tires.
The Bearcats had a high-powered engine, in the form of explosive skill position talent. But they lacked the proper foundation along the offensive and defensive fronts to turn that horsepower into results.
This year, Shawn Heinold sees a team that should be the exact opposite. Yes, William Penn graduated nearly all of its main offensive producers. But the Bearcats coach hopes a sturdier offensive line and revamped defense will offset those losses.
Filling the void: Expect to see a lot of new names in the box scores this fall. Of the 39 offensive touchdowns William Penn scored last season, only one of them was by a nonsenior.
Quarterback Kelvin Parker, the team's leading passer and rusher, is gone, along with running back Tim Hibner (844 yards, 10 TDs) and leading receiver Jordan Zackery (484 yards, four TDs).
The good news: Nearly every member of the Bearcats' offensive line has some measure of
varsity experience, and the defensive side returns seven starters.
"Last year, I think our skill was pretty extraordinary," Heinold said. "They made up for -- not lack of ability, I think we just weren't experienced enough. So maybe this year will be role reversal a little bit."
Varsity letters: The offensive and defensive lines should be anchored by junior Anderson Novalin, who broke into the starting lineup last fall.
Xavier Garcia-Wilson appears to have grabbed hold of the quarterback position, while fellow senior Loren Lutzinger (106 yards, one TD) will headline the receiving corps. A group of new faces figure to compete for carries at running back, according to Heinold.
Meanwhile, William Penn's defense should have a different look. Heinold said the Bearcats will shift from a traditional 4-3 to a 46 style defense, with the goal of applying more pressure to opponents. William Penn allowed an average 37.1 points per game in 2010.
"Last year, let's face it, we had to score 40-plus points to win," Heinold said. "If we're going to go down (this year), we're going to go down swinging."
New face in the crowd: In Garcia-Wilson, Heinold feels he has an accurate passer who could upgrade William Penn's air attack.
Still, being a first-year starter at the varsity level has its challenges.
"We have a lot of chemistry, just being in the city, communicating with all my players," Garcia-Wilson said. "The hardest thing for me is probably just reading the defense. It's way faster."
Mark your calendar: The first few weeks of the schedule should tell us a lot.
William Penn starts its season with two long road trips -- first to Reading, then to J.P. McCaskey. Those should be stern tests for some of the team's new faces.
As if that wasn't enough, the Bearcats follow those up with a Week 3 home matchup against a Harrisburg squad that routed William Penn last season.
Who is one player on your team you would not want to face? Anderson Novalin. He is massive. He is about 265 pounds and benches about 400 pounds.
What practice drill do you hate the most? Me playing defensive end, I would say the Oklahoma Drill because I go against Anderson.
Which NFL player would you compare yourself with? I wouldn't say any right now because I just do my own thing.
What is your favorite pregame music? Ace Hood -- Hustle Hard.
Do you have a nickname? How did you get it? X, since my first name is Xavier and it starts with an X, everyone just calls me that.
What is the best thing about playing football? It is the best game!
Related· 2010 preview: Bearcats confident despite upheaval