Champion quarterback James Naylor is used to the pressures of being the leader of the offense, although not this offense.
The senior played quarterback in middle school and started the second half of the 2011 season, but that was under the Golden Flashes' old offense, the Wing-T.
This season, Naylor and Champion are operating a new offense - the Veer option. Also called the "triple option," the Veer offense forces the quarterback to read two defenders and decide between a handoff to the dive back, pitch to the tailback or to keep the ball on his own.
For Naylor, the decision-making won't be a problem, but he said he must get used to the hits he will take this season.
"It's a little bit of a change, but I've been quarterback for a while," Naylor said. "You're used to all that pressure on you. It's just more of the physical beating I'm going to take (in the Veer offense)."
Good news for Naylor is that he will have a trustworthy running back to pitch to in fellow senior Rocco Sandrella.
The two seniors have played together in the Champion backfield since middle school and know where the other will be when necessary.
Also, the duo will hope to cut down on the turnovers in the new offense. The Golden Flashes gave away more than two turnovers a game, for a total of 23 turnovers during the 2011 season.
With the complexities of the Veer option offense, it could prove to be difficult to limit the turnovers, but Sandrella said he and Naylor will be on the same page on the outside.
"Ever since middle school, we've been in the backfield with each other," Sandrella said. "I trust where he's going to give me the ball, and he trusts me where I'm going to be."
Despite employing a completely new offense in 2012, both Naylor and Sandrella said the team has managed to seamlessly make the move to the Veer option.
Along with the decision-making by the quarterback, it asks the linemen to leave at least one defender (normally a defensive tackle or end) unmarked. This philosophy has been new to the team, but Naylor said the Golden Flashes have managed to learn it.
"It was a little bit difficult in the beginning because it was a completely new offense, but once we started getting the hang of it, it came pretty quickly," Naylor said.
Although the whole offense will be under pressure for the Golden Flashes, the backfield will have most of the action in this offense, and Sandrella and Naylor know it.
Both players said that they need to be relaxed in the backfield, but for Naylor, he can only be calm up to a certain point.
"You have to have some (tense moments) in there," Naylor said. "You can't be completely loose and be like, 'Oh, whatever.' But you have to be relaxed enough to know what's going on but still have fun playing the game."
The Golden Flashes will hope that this offense will to lead to a better season than in 2011. The team averaged 16.4 points per game during the 2011 campaign in which the team finished 2-8.
Both Naylor and Sandrella said the team expects to finish much better than it did last season, hoping for at least a 7-3 regular season record.
"We need to get more of a team mentality - not be more focused on individual records and (statistics)," Naylor said. "We need to be more focused on winning together as brothers."