Some familiar faces returned to Guyer Field and new ones appeared Monday , the opening day of the summer season for the Laguna Beach High football program.
The 2013-14 school year had ended less than a month ago, but the Breakers were back at it, sans pads.
"It felt good to see guys out there for that first day," Laguna Beach Head Coach Corey Brown said. "We had a good spring and we're looking to continue on that path during the summer."
Brown was pleased with the player turnout for the opening practice, noting that numbers were similar to those from a year ago. He said a total of 65 returning and new players were at Monday's practice, and that more players will join team practices next week.
Brown said that 24 incoming freshmen were on hand Monday. Last year, that incoming list had 30 players.
"The turnout was good, and we will be at full strength starting next week," said Brown, who is beginning his second year as head coach of the Breakers.
"Right now, we have a lot of returning guys who are taking ownership of this team and they have brought a lot of energy to the table," he said.
"I told our guys that bringing a good attitude and effort to practice is essential toward being successful. That can't be taught. It's something each player has to want to do, and we've never had (in the past) any discipline or attitude problems in that regard."
Since spring, the Breakers have worked on both offensive (Wing-T) and defensive schemes, tweaking their defense from a year ago.
"We want to do something different on defense and we'll have more of a 4-4 look this year," Brown said.
Last fall, Laguna implemented an off-set scheme defensively.
"We had a couple of games last year where we were outmanned in the box," Brown said. "So in the off-season, we looked at how to get better and that was through strength and conditioning. The guys put in the hard work, too.
"Right now, summer is about fundamentals and technique, and strength conditioning. We need to take care of those things as well as work on those offensive and defensive schemes. It's going to be step-by-step."
Among key returning players for the 2014 season are quarterback Jack Simon, inside linebacker and receiver Brett Tracy, running back/linebacker Ethan Chesley, who was a team captain last year, and two-way lineman Nate Wylie whom Brown said was the team's Lineman of the Year in 2013.
"I was really excited to get our summer going, having had a little more experience playing on varsity," Simon said. "It was cool seeing the freshmen come in, too. I was one of those guys two years ago and what has happened to me since then shows what can happen in a couple of years."
Simon went from the Laguna frosh/soph team as a freshman to taking on the starting role of quarterback as a sophomore last fall. In his first varsity season, Simon set two school records for a sophomore quarterback: most passing yards (996) and passer rating (117.3).
He has been impressed with what the 2014 Breakers have done to date.
"This team is very dedicated," he said. "The freshmen coming in look promising, and if they are as dedicated as our returning players, then the future here looks bright. We worked hard in the spring and we will work hard in the next month, and we're looking forward to starting our new season."
The Breakers have two upcoming passing games starting with a 5 p.m. game Tuesday at Guyer Field against Laguna Hills. They will travel for a 4 p.m. game July 24 at Northwood.
Laguna begins camp for its fall season Aug. 15. That day, the Breakers will put on pads for the first time, just one day after completing their summer session.
Their 2014 season begins Sept. 5 with a nonleague road game against Bolsa Grande.
"The most important aspect of the season for me, right now, is building relationships with our players," Brown said. "I want out guys to develop a winning attitude, to have fun out there but work hard and fast during the summer. There's a lot to learn."