Loyola, a six-time Southern Section football champion, hasn't been in the Pac-5 playoffs since the 2011 season. Its fans are getting a little restless.
Trouble at the quarterback position and the lack of a consistent passing attack has been holding the Cubs back, but junior Sean O'Malley offers hope for the coming season. He was put into the lineup late last season, showed potential and now he will try to take advantage of the many talented skill-position players that will surround him.
"He doesn't have to win games for us. He can be a good manager," Coach Marvin Sanders said.
Loyola won its four nonleague games last season, but then went 0-6 in the Mission League. The lack of consistency on offense, particularly with the passing game, proved to be the Cubs' undoing.
This season, there's plenty of talent with the likes of David Long, Myles Bryant, Jordan Riordan, David and Daniel Tolbert. All have been playing varsity for several years. Now the Cubs need to get their offensive and defensive lines to hold their own.
Sanders' big priority during the nonleague season is to develop backups in case starters go down with injuries.
Harvard-Westlake, Highland, St. Augustine and Salesian are Loyola's four nonleague games. Then comes the Mission League opener against Serra on Sept. 25. The season ends with a Nov. 6 showdown against Bishop Amat at home.
Loyola is playing all its home games on campus this season, which should create more enthusiasm.
But it's still going to be about the play at quarterback, and all eyes will be on O'Malley.