"We answered a lot of (personnel) questions in Fresno," Perkins said of
the Eagles' five-day full-contact camp in June at Fresno State
"Typically, coaches have a lot of questions about their players during
the spring and summer and it really isn't until you see them compete
against guys in that first game, until those questions are answered.
"Sometimes those inevitable mistakes can end up costing you big-time, but
we already made those mistakes in Fresno. We already have an idea about
our young kids and we know how much our returners improved. I know every
coach in Southern California is happy to be allowed a scrimmage, but for
us it's just a bonus."
Another bonus is the Eagles' wealth of experienced returners on both
sides of the ball, though, in some cases, it was earned prematurely, due
to injuries and illness to upperclassmen last fall.
The Eagles' 22-position starting lineup included, at various times last
season, 16 first-year players. Eight of those were sophomores.
And, while Estancia rooters should recognize the names and faces of this
year's players, an especially generous allotment of local viewing
opportunities (seven games at either Orange Coast College or Newport
Harbor High) could help them learn their favorite Eagle's every on-field
Beginning in Week 4, Estancia will play five consecutive weeks at OCC,
covering the first three Pacific Coast League.
"We worked hard to get as many games there as we could, because I think
our kids feel like (Newport Harbor's Davidson Field) is more of a home
stadium for Newport and Corona del Mar," Perkins said.
Regardless of where you catch them, here's a position-by-position
breakdown of those players you're most likely to see:
Quarterback: Junior Kenny Valbuena threw for 1,154 yards and eight
touchdowns in eight starts as a sophomore, but he spent spring, summer,
and the first two days of fall drills, at Fountain Valley High, while
junior Jeremy Valdes was establishing himself in the Eagles' wing T
Perkins admires Valdes' leadership skills, as well as his mobility, but