Howard McMahan is not going to make any excuses.
The McNeil football team struggled a season ago, winning the first game of the year, but ending on a nine-game losing streak. Entering his third year as the head coach of the Mavericks, McMahan is trying to change the culture.
"I'm excited about this group," he said. "They're very resilient and I like the camaraderie they've built. I like the closeness and they're a fun group to be around. We expect to win every game, that's the culture I want to create around here."
Defensively, the Mavericks return Sammy Latham on the defensive line, while Mario Shannon and Jakob Carrera will patrol the secondary.
Carrera said the results of last season definitely left a bad taste in their mouths. They don't want that to happen and he's seen a change in attitude at practice since people want to come and are giving more effort in practice.
"We're pretty young, but they're getting the hang of it really quickly," senior Jakob Carrera said. "But we're getting better together and we're building that chemistry. I think we'll be ready when the season starts."
The Mavericks' defense struggled last season and allowed 48 points a game during district play, tied for the worst in the league.
In a new district that adds Leander ISD schools that have historically have high-powered or up-tempo offenses that thrive on the passing game, Carrera and the McNeil defense will be tested more than ever.
But there's a renewed sense of resolve amongst the group.
"I looking forward to everybody being out three and working together and being good teammates," Carrera said. "Then I want to progress through the season and make playoffs, that's a big achievement for us."