Bishop McGuinness is trying to pick up the pace on offense under new coach Justin Jones.
Jones brought the faster-paced offense with him from Woodward, and it has been a bit of a shock for the Irish, who have been used to a slower, more run-oriented offense under former coach Kenny Young.
“It's just a whole different pace,” senior offensive lineman Charlie Evenson said. “Everything is fast going; get in, get out.
“I think it's going to be a slow-moving process. Everyone is getting the hang of things, but it will probably take a couple games.”
Evenson is the unquestioned leader on the offensive line, which has two seniors. The other senior, Chip Daniel, played some last year but didn't start.
The line will work to create holes for running backs Danny Krenger and Jacob Lewis, who are replacing LaRone Richardson in the Irish backfield. Richardson rushed for 1,666 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, and Krenger and Lewis are more powerful runners than the more elusive Richardson was.
The Irish passing game is led by returning quarterback Camden Tharp, a senior.
Some of his top targets will be senior receiver Duncan Branum, junior receivers Bradley Fritch and Cody Chancellor and senior tight end David Love, who is 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds.
Tharp cites Chancellor as a currently unknown player who will have a big impact.
“He's our best route runner,” Tharp said. “He's not the quickest guy, but his routes get him open. If you put it anywhere near him, he'll go up and get it.”
Defensively, the Irish will be stacked.
On the line, Evenson and senior Chris Johnson plug up the middle, creating space for the team's stellar linebacking core.
Seniors Brandon Nguyen and Danny Krenger and junior Nick Jeffries are all returning starters on defense.
“I feel like this is the best linebacking core I've ever seen,” Branum said.
In the secondary, Branum and senior Tyler Konarik have the corners locked down, with Fritch, a returning starter, and senior Drew Neuberger in the middle.
“There's basically nowhere (for opposing offenses) to go,” Tharp said.
Branum said the senior leadership will be key across all positions because of the coaching change.
“Since there is a new coaching staff, it's kind of tough in the transition,” Branum said. “We really need good senior leadership.”