If I remember right, last year there was discussion that it didn't really matter who started because there was a lot of rotation. Trying to get as many guys experience as possible. Senior or Freshman...everyone was on the same level learning a new scheme. So starting was more symbolic than anything, because a lot of guys were going to see time on the field. Just trying to develop depth.
Now, this year, it seems as though starting may still be symbolic, but for the opposite reason. We actually have some depth now. So saying you are "first string" just means you are on the field for the first play. If another guy is having a good day, you may be first string clipboard holder.