Devon Key, a standout junior free safety at Bryan Station, admits it's a challenge trying to defend teammates Marcus Floyd, C.J. Walker and Tequan Claitt in practice.
"They're great receivers," Key said. "It's like going against the best every day."
Can he lock them down?
"Yes sir," Key said with a mischievous grin.
Minutes later, Floyd was talking about how talented Bryan Station is at receiver and in the secondary.
When told that Key said he could shut down the pass catchers, Floyd shook his head in disagreement.
"Nah, that's not happening," he said with a smile.
There is spirited competition at Bryan Station this preseason, which is just what Frank Parks was hoping for in his third year as head coach.
The Defenders have a talented group of returning starters, especially at the aforementioned receiver and secondary positions, as well as in the trenches.
Parks sees a positive, optimistic attitude with his team.
"These kids believe they can beat anybody," Parks said. "They've got that mentality now. We're finally getting to where we need to be as far as the culture here."
Bryan Station's offense figures to be explosive, assuming it can find a quarterback to replace Ora "Bo" Johnson.He threw for 3,403 yards and 36 touchdowns last season, and finished his career with 7,568 yards and 77 TDs.
Andre Davis, a 5-foot-11 junior, is the leading candidate at quarterback.
"He's a good decision-maker, and he's probably more explosive as a runner than Ora," Parks said. "And he throws better than you might think."
Floyd has confidence in Davis. "He's already settled in. He's just a junior but he'll play like a senior. He's that good. He'll do a great job for us."
Dallas Bruton, a senior and more of a passer, is also contending for time at QB.
Whoever is at the controls will benefit from an experienced receiving corps.
Walker, a 5-10 senior, had 60 catches, 1,220 yards and 11 TDs last year. Claitt, a 6-3 senior, had 61 catches, 900 yards and nine TDs. Floyd, a 6-1 senior, had 28 catches, 290 yards and two TDs.
"What makes them so good is they're all different," Parks said. "C.J. is more of an explosive guy. Marcus has a bigger body and is a physical blocker. Tequan is tall and has a high football IQ.
"They'll make it easier on the quarterback because they run good routes and know where they're supposed to be."
Key will also snag some passes out of the slot. He'll also get carries at running back, as will K-Ci Carmichael (576 yards, six TDs last year), and D'Andre Mack, a transfer from Alabama.
Bryan Station's offensive line will be led by Brannon Sturgeon, Dermonte Bond, Mikel Horton and Jeremy Mason. Horton will also man the defensive line, along with Shane Preston.
Sophomore Quinten Floyd is a promising linebacker.
Parks praised Ke-I Carmichael as "one of those kids that can do a lot of things well. A very smart player."
Ke-I's brother K-Ci is part of a strong secondary that also includes Key, Claitt and Mahari Sturgis.
Parks is stressing attention to detail with his players.
"We're talking a lot about execution, and how important one or two plays, little things, can change the whole grand scheme of things."
Bryan Station will face a ridiculously tough early schedule. Its first four games are against Harlan County, St. Xavier, Highlands and Lexington Catholic.
"I'm really excited," Marcus Floyd said. "It'll be a challenge playing those kind of teams, but we'll be up for it."