The Penn football team strapped on the pads for the first Wednesday as it was the first day contact was allowed at football practices across Indiana.
It was a spirited workout as the Kingsmen look to discover their new identity coming off the departure of many key seniors that led Penn to undefeated regular season a year ago and a trip to Semi-State.
Asked how many starters he has returning and Penn coach Cory Yeoman smiled and said, "we lost a lot of good players." Yeoman is entering his 12th season as the Kingsmen head coach, amassing a record of 118-26 in his first 11 seasons.
Gone is star quarterback Zach Oakley and a a number of other talented standouts, but Yeoman knows better than anyone that no one is going to feel sorry for Penn.
"We always have high expectations around here every year and that's the way it's always going to be," Yeoman explains. "We have big goals but the exciting part is that its every senior year's class--it's their new class, it's their new chapter in that book and that's what is exciting about it because it does change but are goals are pretty much the same ever year."
The new senior class is ready to step up. Experience on the offensive line is certainly there with four of the five starters returning and ready to move into leadership roles.
"I've always looked up to Penn football and finally being a senior and being a role model for everyone and everyone in the elementary school and Discovery, Schumucker and Grissom, it's great just to know you are a role model and kids will look up to you," Kingsmen senior guard Payne McCaskill says.
Penn will open the season against Valparaiso for the 18th straight season. The Kingsmen have won the last three meetings. The game will be a 7:30 kickoff on August 22nd at Penn's Freed Field.