Maybe a change of routine will be just what the Glendale Community College football needs to get out of the blocks quickly this season.
The Vaqueros' schedule will once again force them to navigate a Pacific Conference American Division that remains largely unchanged from last season, but Glendale will get started against a new trio of nonconference foes.
Gone are Pasadena City College, Golden West and East Los Angeles, who went a combined 6-0 against Glendale over the past two seasons.
Instead, the Vaqueros will open the season at Compton at 1 p.m. on Sept. 1 before playing a home opener at 6 p.m. Sept. 8 against San Bernardino Valley. The longest road trip of the season will follow in a 6 p.m. game at San Diego Mesa on Sept. 15 and the Vaqueros will open conference play at 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at Antelope Valley, which is a new addition to the division.
Glendale Coach John Rome said regardless of who the opponent is, improving on last year's 1-9 record, which made the team 2-18 over the past two seasons, will have to come from within.
"This year we think we've done a better job of bringing in student-athletes that are serious about both their academic success and their athletic success," Rome said. "We have a much larger group than in the past. ...We think we're improving athletically, we think we're improving what mattered and what mattered would be can we stop somebody on the defensive end."
While a clean slate could be refreshing, the new nonconference schedule also has the drawback of being less familiar from a scouting and preparation standpoint.
"To be real honest, we don't know much about them," Rome said of the nonconference opposition. "We haven't seen [Compton] on film. We know that traditionally they're a team that's sort of struggled a little bit with their records. They're very talented, but they've struggled in the past."
Indeed, Compton is coming off a winless season. San Bernardino, on the other hand, finished a more respectable 4-6.
"I know they've been fairly successful [recently]" Rome said of San Bernardino Valley, which defeated the Vaqueros at home in the teams' last meeting in 2003.
San Diego Mesa went 3-7 last year, as did Antelope Valley.
"They're in such a good area for athletics," Rome said of Antelope Valley. "Perry Jehlicka, the head coach, I think he does a good job and they're now winning games at a good rate, where in years past they had not done so."
The Vaqueros went 1-5 in conference last season, but lost four games by nine points or less. Santa Monica, which visits Glendale at 6 p.m. on Sept. 29, looks like a favorite to defend its conference title, according to Rome, after going a perfect 6-0 last year.
"I think Santa Monica looks good," Rome said. "I think Santa Monica's done a very good job bringing in the talent that won last year and I think they'll be good."
After an Oct. 6 bye, Glendale resumes conference play against West Los Angeles at 6 p.m. Oct. 13 at home before another two-game road trip with a 6 p.m. stop at L.A. Southwest on Oct. 20 followed by a 6 p.m. tilt with L.A. Valley on Oct. 27.
At 6 p.m. on Nov. 3, Glendale will host Santa Barbara City College, the only team the Vaqueros defeated last season.
The regular-season finale will also be at home, a 1 p.m. matinee against L.A. Pierce on Nov. 10.
"We like the schedule we're playing, we can be competitive," Rome said. "It's up to us to get better."
Sept. 1 at Compton College, 1 p.m.