BELLINGHAM - There are a lot of new faces in camp this year for the Sehome football team.
First and foremost is new man at the helm, Bob Norvell, who takes over for the departed Darren Tinnerstet.
"It's been real exciting," Norvell said of his first two days of practice on Thursday, Aug. 16. "I was expecting to be exhausted, but I think I'm just too excited to be tired. I go home and figure I'll be tired, but I'm just ready to go. Just thinking about football 24-seven is really fun."
He's far from the only one thinking about football in Mariners green and gold, though.
In fact, there are plenty of people thinking football, as numbers are finally not a problem for program.
It was only three years ago that Sehome played games with only a handful more players standing on the sideline than they had on the field, but this year, Norvell has more than 70 players out.
"It's great having a lot of people out like this," senior running back Titi Lamositele said. "When your numbers are good, it's exciting for everybody. ... There are a lot of new people out here - a lot of excitement and a lot of depth. Everybody is ready to come out and work hard."
Making sure they are working hard is a revamped Sehome coaching staff that is full of unfamiliar faces.
"You may not recognize a lot of the guys on our staff," Norvell said. "We have brought in a lot of guys that have been very active in youth football in the area, and have been helping build players for the Sehome football program."
The hope is that that familiarity between the coaching staff and the players will help Sehome continue to build on the back-to-back 3-7 campaigns the Mariners turned in during Tinnerstet's two seasons at the helm.
"We have a relationship with these guys (the assistant coaches)," senior Malik Williams said. "We've known them for a while, so they know how to work with us, and it's really helped to have that bond with those guys. They are really good coaches."
In addition to knowing the players they're working with, Norvell said many of his assistant coaches played the game beyond the high school level.
"These guys have a lot of football-specific knowledge," senior quarterback Austin Rapp said. "They played at the highest level, and they've been really good at passing along what they learned or heard while they were playing college football."
So far, that added experience and extra numbers has led to some "quick, crisp" practice sessions, Rapp said, as the Mariners prepare for their Aug. 31 season opener at Nooksack Valley.
Norvell said he plans to bring many of the same offensive components he used while he was coaching at Burlington-Edison to the Mariners. And as an "offensive lineman at heart," he looks forward to using Lamositele and the rest of the Sehome running backs to move the ball.
The defense also is looking to take a big step forward with more talented players to utilize.
"Ultimately, Sehome has got to win some ballgames this year," Norvell said. "We as a coaching staff are committed to improving. I think we're going to take our bumps and bruises, and we'll make adjustments and learn from it all and grow. That's what it's going to take for us, is to show the kids that we're just as committed to them as they are to us. Then they have to turn around and do it out on the field."
Reach David Rasbach at firstname.lastname@example.org 360-715-2286.
This is the third in a series of reports from the 11 Whatcom County high school football teams during preseason practices.
Next up: Squalicum
Reach DAVID RASBACH at email@example.com or call 715-2271.