This isn't a position with which the Wichita (KS) Collegiate Spartans can claim familiarity.
As steeped in tradition as any high school football program in the Sunflower State, the 2011 Spartans entered the season with high hopes and big expectations - as always - and have instead stumbled out of the blocks, dropping their first two games.
"We aren't used to this 0-2 start," said Collegiate standout defensive end Trace Clark. "Our fans aren't used to it, and people from the city are like 'What's going on with Collegiate?'"
A 6-foot-4, 220-pound defensive end, Clark is one of the anchors of an extremely talented Spartans defense - and one of the top collegiate prospects in the state of Kansas.
The way he sees it, Friday night's contest with Wellington (KS) High is the perfect time to get the season back on track.
"In practice, we've had a lot more intensity this week, and there's an energy there," Clark said. "The coaches are trying to stay energetic, make sure we're moving at all times during practice, and then we've been going full pads - including pants where we've usually been doing shorts."
On the recruiting front, Clark has a number of visits - both official and unofficial - lined up in the weeks ahead – the first of which took place last weekend, as the big defensive end tripped to Lawrence, Kan. to take in the Jayhawks' match-up with Northern Illinois.
"It was, overall, a very good trip," he said. "I went up there and they fed me, my dad and one of my teammates I met with. We got to go out on the field and watch pre-game, had some really excellent seats four rows up on the 40, right behind the KU bench."
Kansas was the first program to make its interest in Clark official by extended a scholarship offer. And though the offers continued to roll in from programs such as Iowa, Stanford, Oregon, Purdue, Kansas State and Oklahoma State, that the Jayhawks were there first made an impression on the in-state star.
"I'm definitely interested," Clark said. "They're an in-state school, they were the first one there and they've shown interest throughout. I really like the coaching staff with Coach (Turner) Gill and Coach (Robert) Wimberly, who is recruiting me, and also Coach (Buddy) Wyatt who would be my position coach."
Next up for Clark, an unofficial visit to Manhattan, Kan. this weekend for K-State's home game with the Golden Flashes of Kent State. Also on tap or official visits to Purdue, Iowa and Stanford, as well as an unofficial to Oklahoma State. A visit to Oregon is also probable, though likely to take place after the high school season.