Kenny Turner has appreciated Bryan Station football from afar for a long time — as a player at Richmond Madison in the 1970s, and as a coach at Holmes and Madison Central the past three decades.
"I always kept up with Bryan Station's tradition and the great players they had," he said. "I'm very familiar with their outstanding history."
Now Turner gets to make his own mark with the Defenders as he begins his first season as head coach.
What can people expect from Bryan Station under its new boss?
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Nobody, not even Turner, is sure.
"We have some talent, but it's unknown talent," he said. "And we're still getting to know each other. Once we iron out all the newness, it'll be a smooth transition."
Oliver Lucas, Turner's predecessor who left to take over at Manual, brought Bryan Station back to respectability in his four years as coach. The Defenders went 9-3 last season, their most wins in a decade, and earned the district's No. 1 seed.
Most of the standouts on the 2009 team graduated, including Tevin McCaden, one of the state's leading rushers. But a nucleus of veterans, along with some promising newcomers, are reasons for optimism this fall.
Darrian Miller is the Defenders' biggest star. The 6-foot-6, 290-pound senior lineman, who has committed to Kentucky, noted a difference in Turner's approach.
"We're still getting used to his discipline," Miller said. "Be on time; do what you're told the first time you're told something; no walking, run everywhere.
"That's a good thing because the key for us this year is to be very disciplined. We've got to know exactly what to do and when to do it."
Bryan Station will have a different look offensively.
Last year McCaden was the workhorse, carrying the ball 255 times for 2,073 yards and 26 touchdowns.
This season the Defenders will spread the ball around, with quarterback Mike Wink ler handing off to Ledarius Jackson, Elijah Burdette, Everett Talbert, Austin Hendron and Josh Arnett, and throwing to a receiving corps that includes Tyriq Roberts and Loran Smith.
"Bryan Station is known for its athletes, and we're going to use that to our advantage," Winkler said. "Teams will have more to worry about. We'll have lots of guys touching the rock."
The offensive line should be strong, with veterans Miller, Tae Green, Damien Campbell, Jamal Johnson and Jaron Mock.
Bryan Station's defense isn't as experienced.
Miller, Campbell and Mock will be a force up front, and Tim Hayden returns to lead the secondary.
"We lost a lot of people on defense, but we still have skilled and talented people," Hayden said. "We'll be all right."
One of the best is Talbert. Turner expects a lot out of him at linebacker:
"He doesn't say two words, but he works like a man."
Overall, Turner said he is pleased with what he's seen from his Defenders.
"The positive stuff is, these young men are buying into what we're doing," he said.
"Every coach does things a little different, and no way is better than the other way. It's just a matter of the coaches and players adjusting to each other, and these young men are doing it. They're hustling. They know what I want."
Turner, whose Madison Central team went 0-9 last year, knows Bryan Station's schedule won't allow him to ease into his new job.
The Defenders visit Clark County for their Aug. 20 opener.