Bryan Station's pre-season football practices have been quieter this year under new head coach Frank Parks, but the Defenders hope to make plenty of noise this fall.
Parks, Bryan Station's fourth coach in four years, deals with players in a low-key style that is in stark contrast to that of his predecessor, Craig Yeast, who coached at a high-decibel level.
"I'm not as much of a firebrand as Craig," Parks said with a smile. "I'm a little more laid-back and reserved.
"But the players know that if I do start to yell, they've really done something wrong."
Parks' voice is familiar to the Defenders. He was an assistant to Kenny Turner in 2009 and to Yeast last year.
"It's been an easy transition." Parks said. "The kids know me, and we're pretty much staying on course with the same system."
Parks is optimistic that Bryan Station can stay on the uptick, too, after going 7-5 last season, including a victory in the playoffs.
The Defenders' returning starters include junior quarterback Ora Johnson, who passed for 1,492 yards and seven touchdowns, and ran for 320 yards and three scores last season.
"The sky's the limit for Ora," Parks said. "He's a good player and leader. He's very respected by his teammates."
Kenyon Hipps is a proven receiver. He had 26 catches for 364 yards last year. Parks also expects Lavelle Cloyd, Tequan Claitt, Marcus Floyd and Steve Breathitt to be prime targets for Johnson.
Running back duties will be shared by Curtis Sellers, Charles Randle and Shamonta Harrington.
The offensive line will be anchored by senior center Jeremy Walker, along with Jeff Adams and Quentin Carter. Parks is concerned about finding a few more big guys to fill a few holes, but Johnson has confidence in his protectors.
"I think we have a good, athletic, big line," he said. "Once we get to know each other chemistry-wise, I think we'll be fine."
Bryan Station's defense will be led by veteran linebackers Austin Hendron, Elijah Burdette and Patrick Puckett, and safety Michael Morton. Randle is an experienced cornerback. Jayron Johnson and Landon Browning will be up front, along with Carter.
Hendron, the team's second-leading tackler last year, likes the Defenders' combination of size and speed. "When it comes together, it's something beautiful," he said.
Hendron thinks the key to Bryan Station's success is taking care of business on and off the field.
"With Coach Parks, it's either his way or no way," he said. "The discipline is there. We've got to stay focused, work hard and keep our heads in the books."
Parks, who was a high school star at Madison Central and an NAIA All-American at Georgetown College, doesn't have to shout to get his players' attention.
"Coach Parks has a different style than Coach Yeast," Hendron said. "He's more laid-back, but we respect him and we know he's going to push us to reach our fullest."
Parks is optimistic he can push the Defenders to success this season.
"We've got some experience and talent, and the players are giving a great effort so far," he said. "If we come out and improve a little each day and take care of the little things, by the time it's all said and done, we can compete for the district and maybe make a deep playoff run."
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Email: mfields@herald-leader. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com.