Bakersfield College's postseason eligibility in football is one of the looming questions the Renegades face as the 2013 season approaches.
It'll be awhile before that question is answered as the college weaves through the appeals process in response to state-ordered sanctions and penalties stemming from alleged state rule violations dealing with special privileges for football players.
For BC head coach Jeff Chudy and his coaching staff, the immediate looming question is who's going to be the starters in the Sept. 7 season opener at Santa Ana College?
Dozens of new faces have the coaches struggling to compile a depth chart, but they should have a better idea by this afternoon.
Today at 10 a.m. in Memorial Stadium, BC holds the first of two intrasquad scrimmages that Chudy said will be pivotal in determining who will get the most reps in future practices and who takes the lead in the battle for playing time.
The scrimmage is open to the public free of charge.
"Everyone knows that the guys who are going to move up the depth chart and move up the food chain are the guys who make the plays (today)," said Chudy, who is starting his 10th season as head coach.
The BC offense has the most new faces. The only returning offensive starters from last season's 11-2 squad that won the state title game in December are center Sebastian Prince and wide receiver Brock Martin.
"We have a lot of holes to fill on the offensive side, especially the quarterback position," Chudy said. "We're ahead of the game on defense, where most of our guys who are back play.
"Saturday's going to be a good day for us. We'll find out who will step up to the plate and answer the call. Some guys will, some guys won't."
There are six quarterback candidates, 10 competing at running back and 15 wide receivers or tight ends.
The six potential quarterbacks include five from Kern County: Vaughn Richardson from Taft, Ricardo Castro from Shafter, Juan Carbajal from Centennial, Darrik Martin from Golden Valley and Cruise Adams from Garces.
Martin spent the last two seasons at Kiski Prep School in Pennsylvania. Carbajal was a backup at BC last season but did not attempt a pass.
The other quarterback candidate is Tarek Yaeggi from Watertown (Wis.) High School who was one of that state's top prep quarterbacks last season.
One of them will replace Brian Burrell, who is now at Fresno State after completing his BC career No. 3 on the Renegades' career passing yards list and fifth in TD passes.
Among the running back candidates are notable local high school graduates Preston Hodges (Independence), Triton Douglas (Frontier), Carson Moyer (Liberty), Marcus Curiel (Tehachapi) and Corey Frison (West).
There are three returners: Austin Tijerina from Wasco, a punter last season; Kwame Johnson from Golden Valley, the Gades' No. 4 rusher last season with 95 yards; and Hamid Camara from Centennial, who did not have any rushing attempts.
Martin heads the receiving corps after a solid season last year with BC: 33 catches for 504 yards and four touchdowns.
So many newcomers have prompted the coaches to split the squad up in practice this week so the players could get frequent snaps.
"We've been running two 7-on-7s at the same time and two 11-on-11s at the same time," Chudy said. "We told them a long time ago that's going to end (after the first scrimmage)."
Today's scrimmage will be more game-like than practices, Chudy said.
"We're going live until a ball carrier is down," he said. "It's not controlled. Out here (at practices), everything is scripted. We have quick whistles. It (the scrimmage) is going to almost be regular football."
So what will the coaches be looking for?
"We need to find out who can play. Nobody is being given a spot. Everybody has to earn a spot. We've got to get better and we've got to play faster. That's the sense of urgency."