According to second-year VC head coach Trev Faulk, though, he has little concern for a let-down.
“I don’t think that anyone’s expectations around here are going to be higher than mine,” said Faulk, the 2011 1A All-State coach of the year. “I feel a lot more comfortable with my role as head coach.... Just like we’re expecting the kids to get better, I can get better and we’ll get better as a staff.”
The Eagles are fresh on the heels of a semifinal playoff appearance in 2011, but are losing 14 graduating seniors.
Included in those losses are All-State quarterback Aaron David and All-State linebacker Mark LaPorte.
Set to replace David under center next season is soon-to-be junior quarterback Brennan Gallet.
“We just have to take what Brennan has and what the other kids have and work to their strengths,” said Faulk of his new QB and receivers. “As we go along, we’ll try to tweak our system to fit the throws that he can make and the things that they can do and try to put them in a position to where they can do the things that they do well.”
As for replacing LaPorte and the rest of the 14 seniors, Faulk said he does not know if that is possible.
“(LaPorte) was a nasty football player. He made plays all over the place,” said Faulk. “Fortunately for us, we have eight guys returning on defense.
“It’ll be tough for us (to replace the seniors) though,” he said, “not only in terms of what they brought as players, but also the leadership that they provided to the younger guys.”
Last season, when Faulk was new in his role, he came to VC not knowing what sort of a team he had inherited.
He said that he, along with offensive coordinator Roch Charpentier, looked closely at their personnel and tailored the playbook to suit their strengths.
This year, that process begins again.
“For the most part, things will probably look the same with us being spread out with a wide open approach,” he said. “But given the types of athletes that we have, we’ll put them in position to do well.
“Down the road though, if we’re stronger with a more run-capable quarterback and running back then we’ll run the ball more... We’re definitely going to cater to the strengths of our kids.”
Speaking of strengths, the Eagles look to be blazing fast this season.
The return of All-State MVP Jacoby Davis is sure to help steady the offensive production.
Also coming in are sophomore T.J. LaFrance, who placed fourth in the 110 meter hurdles at the 1A state meet as a freshman this year, and senior Shakeir Ryan.
The latter player is purported to be on par with Davis, one of the fastest track athletes in the state at the 100 meter dash.
“We haven’t run them side-by-side yet,” said Faulk. “But, yes, he’s fast.”
Ryan is also Faulk’s nephew.
The Eagles have been practicing for only a week, but Faulk said he is pleased with the effort he has seen in his players thus far.
“Our senior class is solid, although we have maybe six instead of 14,” he said. “But, they’ve been doing a good job at spring practice and through off-season workouts in getting people refocused and re-energized.”
VC’s players will continue weight training and seven-on-seven drills throughout the summer in preparation for another run at the playoffs.
Faulk said he believes another successful season is in the offing.
“Our kids came in here with great intensity (in spring),” he said. “I didn’t have to get on anybody about the importance of the offseason. They understand that they worked hard last season and that allowed us to be successful. They came back with the right attitude to be successful again.”