Bakersfield College football coach Jeff Chudy thought he might have a little insight into Santa Ana College's personnel when he reviewed film of last year's season-opener.
BC won that game 36-19. It was the first time the Renegades and Dons had met since 1974.
They'll open the season for the second straight year at 7 tonight at Santa Ana.
Last season, Santa Ana went 8-3 and relied on two freshmen quarterbacks and freshmen at two of the Dons' top three running back spots. Another freshman led the team in tackles.
All but one of those players aren't on this season's roster.
"We go off of what we did against them last year," Chudy said of BC's preparation. "Then you get a roster on Tuesday, four days before your game, and people you thought were coming back aren't coming back.
"All of a sudden, holy cow, you hope you weren't practicing against ghosts. ... Obviously, we're going to have to adapt as the game gets going."
Santa Ana is facing the same situation. BC's 11-2 season last year featured standout freshmen wide receivers Marquise Johnson and Chaz Adams and running back Curtis McGregor, who did not return.
And there's the challenge of preparing for a team that they rarely face, Chudy noted.
"It's not like we're playing Hancock ... or El Camino or Cerritos," Chudy said. "We know what their philosophy is because we've played them so much over the last 10 years.
"This week we're playing the X factor. We're playing a team the second time in (nearly 40) years. And their roster has changed dramatically."
Last season, BC had a sophomore-dominated offensive unit in the opener. This season, the only returning starters are center Sebastian Prince and wide receiver Brock Martin.
Martin had a big game vs. the Dons a year ago: eight catches for 120 yards and a 48-yard TD catch that broke a 13-13 tie and put BC ahead for good.
BC's offense tonight features quarterback Darrik Martin (Golden Valley graduate), running back Preston Hodges (Independence) and wide receiver Maurice Boyd (Stockton-Skagg) making their collegiate debuts. And aside from Prince, the O-line is all freshmen.
"There's a lot of uncertainty," Chudy said of the many BC freshmen. "That's typical when you get a lot of turnover. That's just the way our level is. You get guys coming in, you get guys going out. The program continues to go on."
Chudy added: "We're optimistic they'll come out and play like they're coached -- play together in the system we're doing and not do anything more than we're asking them to do.
"The biggest thing for the young guys is getting their feet wet and not pushing the panic button."