First-year head coach Matt Toblin is bringing a new approach to Bolles, but at the high school football power, the expectations never change.
Matt Toblin has coached in rivalry games.
He's coached in state championship games.
But even with more than a decade of experience on the sidelines, Toblin can't quite pin down the emotions that are coming when he officially begins his Bolles coaching career on the Skinner-Barco Stadium turf on the night of Saturday, Aug. 24.
"I honestly don't know how overwhelming it'll feel," he said.
He's going to find out soon.
A new beginning comes now for Toblin and the Bulldogs, entering a different future after 28 years of Hall of Fame head coach Corky Rogers and two more under Wayne Belger, Rogers' longtime assistant.
Bolles is returning to Class 4A after spending the Florida High School Athletic Association's previous two-year cycle in Class 5A, but by this summer's standards, a mere reclassification feels easy to miss.
There's a new coach on the sidelines, arriving from Ponte Vedra after leading to the Sharks to the state final three years ago.
A new offense. A new feel. A new scoreboard behind the end zone. Even new music for warmups. A new way of operating a program that's historically the most successful in the Sunshine State.
But after 11 state championships, some things aren't going anywhere, and Toblin knows it.
"The expectation at Bolles is the same every single year. We have to try to win a state championship. There is no other expectation," Toblin said. "I'm reminded every single day on that practice field.
"There's those banners of the state titles, and then there's an empty football, an empty spot for a football... The standard is high, and we're going to fight our butts off to try to meet that standard."
To fill in that next football, he's turned to a combination of familiar faces for him — former Clay head coach Josh Hoekstra came on board as a Bulldogs assistant — and veterans of the Bolles coaching staff from years past.
After decades of the firmly entrenched Wing-T set from the Bulldogs' championship days, famous for innumerable crisp trap plays, the new Bolles is steaming into a full-speed transition to a more wide-open, up-tempo spread scheme.
For offensive lineman Elias Batten, the system's early reviews in preseason look promising.
"It's opened up more holes through the middle so my running backs can get through the holes and not get banged up as much," Batten said.
And there's passing. A lot of passing.
Bolles quarterback Ben Netting never thought he'd be throwing the ball as much. Now, he's adjusting to a revamped offense that longtime Bulldogs backers might struggle to recognize.
"I always thought we'd be a Wing-T until I graduated," Netting said. "But I like the new offense. It's good."
For Netting, 2019 Bolles football means learning new hand signals. New play calls. New targets.
Though sure-handed receiver Chris Sanders is now in the college ranks at Florida A&M, Netting should have promising receivers to aim for, including transfer Davis Ellis. Ellis caught 51 passes for 1,084 yards last season at Episcopal.
Making it all come together is its own puzzle.
Toblin has already had to overcome several obstacles. During spring practice, Toblin said the team's numbers dipped as low as 27, a challenge to his up-tempo approach, though that count has grown considerably over the summer.
"We're used to having a larger program. If you're going super-fast, you've got to make sure that you're rotating guys in and out," Toblin said.
He's been to finals. He sees the numbers growing. He sees the new style taking root. He has reason for confidence.
But until that moment, that first game, Toblin won't know for sure how well his plans are panning out.
"The spring scrimmage against University Christian, it wasn't really a game yet," Toblin said. "I'm sure that first time I take the field, shirt and tie, as a head coach at Bolles in a real game, we'll see how I manage my emotions for that."