A lot of new faces and a few old ones.
The former in terms of players and the latter in terms of coaches.
That’s how Mesa Westwood lines up for the 2008 season, which opens at 7 p.m. Friday for the Warriors at Gilbert High.
A familiar face returning to the coaching staff is Greg Mendez, a varsity assistant last year. Mendez, however, has moved up to head coach this season. Mendez took over in May for Eddy Zubey, who left for Phoenix St. Mary’s.
Overall, Westwood has seven new coaches on its staff this season.
Mendez inherits a young team and anticipates his share of growing pains.
“The thing I see most that we have to cut down on is inconsistency,”
Mendez said. “There’s so much inexperience. Plus we have to get some kids into leadership roles to help that along.”
Only four players who started last year return. One is playing a different position this year. The defense returns one player. That’s where another old face comes in.
Roger Suchomel, a former Warriors head coach and longtime assistant before that, returns. Suchomel will work as the defensive coordinator.
“We teach right across the hall from each other,” Mendez said. “I bounce ideas off him quite a bit. It’s nice to have him and my dad on the staff. They have a lot of knowledge and experience to draw from.”
Mendez doesn’t have visions of a state title keeping him awake at night.
“The team goal is to make the playoffs,” Mendez said. “That’s a reasonable goal. To do that we need to be consistent and clicking on all cylinders.
“We can have two really great practices and then two bad ones follow. You have to develop and maintain focus that gives you four or five good practices in a row in preparing for an opponent. That’s the stage we’re trying to get to.”