Alan Suarez's classes this year would be an academic nightmare for most high school students. AP Calculus. AP Physics. AP English. AP Government. The Brain is ready for the challenge.
The Golden Valley senior has received straight A's all through high school.
He can't remember the last time he didn't get an "A" in a class. His 4.2 GPA ranked 15th in his class last year.
"This year I want to get in the top five," Suarez said. "The extra AP classes should help."
How does Suarez have time for football?
The simple answer is you make time to do something you love. Even if it means getting home from a football practice at 5:30 p.m. and doing homework for four hours.
Golden Valley's first-year coach Jake Messina calls Suarez the poster boy for his football program.
"He's a very forward-thinker, and most 16 and 17 year olds aren't like that," Messina said. "They're thinking about getting their driver's license or the next road trip to Santa Cruz.
"He's worrying about his ACT scores or where he ranks in his class. He's going to have a lot of success because of that."
Suarez's brain definitely helps out on the field.
"He's a genius," junior Tyler Arnsberg said. "I played a little defense last year. I was lost back there. I didn't know what to do. I'd just ask him and he'd tell me where to go.
"This year he picked up the defense quickly. He's back there again showing me the ropes. He has a great football sense, and he's a genius in the classroom."
Suarez and his teammates didn't enjoy similar success on the football field last year, winning just three games.
Losing seven of the final eight games took its toll on the players.
"I'm kind of used to succeeding," Suarez said. "When you don't have success, you kind of beat yourself up.
"Then you kind of realize you have to get up and try the next time. There's no stopping until you do."
Messina knows he's not going to change the program overnight.
"Up until now I've avoided long-term goals with this group," Messina said. "We've focused on personal goals -- documenting what they do in the weight room, learning your position, doing your job in the classroom, being a good teammate.
"When I was at Merced, it was a mature program. With a more developed group, you could look at the guys and say, 'Hey, let's get to UOP.'
"We have to develop skills and get guys physically ready. Then as time goes along we can introduce bigger picture things."
Messina has come in and moved some players around: James Sanchez moves from receiver to tight end; Tray Askew from wingback to receiver; and Alfaro Naranjo from guard to tackle.
However, the most dramatic switch Messina made was moving Arnsberg from quarterback to running back. Arnsberg will also see more time at safety.
"We're putting him in a situation where he's not going to be wrong a lot," Messina said. "We're going to give him the ball and let him run downhill. We want to give him a chance to make a cut. He doesn't have to think about whether he's going to pitch the ball or run.
"Coming from a Pro Style background, you want to find a guy you can hand the ball to 15 to 20 times and build around that."
Arnsberg is enjoying the move.
Like his teammates, he will do what it takes to turn the program around.
"More than anything, it's going to take dedication," said Arnsberg, who ran for 1,140 yards and 16 touchdowns last year. "We need all 52 or so guys on our roster to buy in.
"Last year we had guys that thought they should have been playing other positions. Guys on offense thought they should be on defense. Some guys on defense wanted to play offense.
"We have guys where they want to play, and if everybody can do their part it will make us better."