New coach, young team begin Danville rebrand
Published 10:16 am Friday, August 18, 2023
By MIKE MARSEE
Pick any “re-” word you want: Rebuild, revitalize, reboot, revamp, revive.
Email newsletter signup
They all fit, at least to some extent, what’s happening at Danville this year. But one word that Frank Parks Jr. used might better describe what he is trying to do in his first season as the Admirals’ coach.
“We’ve kind of had to rebrand it,” Parks said.
Parks, the program’s third coach in four seasons, is working with one of the best brand names in Kentucky football, one that needs some spit and polish to make it look a little more like it once did.
That’s going to require some time and some elbow grease, but Parks noted he isn’t starting from zero.
“One good thing about it is ‘Danville.’ It’s not like you come into a program that you have nothing to see,” he said. “Put a good product on the field, a bunch of young guys, and I think that will bring it back to life, to where it needs to be.”
There will certainly be plenty of young guys on the field when Danville opens its season Friday against West Jessamine. There are nine seniors on the 43-man roster, and only three of them saw substantial action during last year’s 5-7 campaign.
There are negatives to having so little experience, but Parks said it can be a positive as well.
“One good thing about having a group of young guys, they haven’t been in a system for too long where you’re breaking a whole bunch of different habits. I think that’s why they learn a little bit quicker,” he said.
He said the learning has been going well so far.
“Players have been putting in a lot of hard work and buying into the system,” Parks said. “It’s new for them because it’s a new scheme and probably a little bit more complex than they had the past couple years … but they’ve done a great job of learning and studying and improving on a daily basis the fundamentals and schemes and things we’ve been working on.”
Parks said the offense will spread the ball around and rely on signals from the sideline, while the defense will rely more on schemes that are predetermined based on the opponent’s alignment and won’t need a lot of checks from the sideline.
The most proven playmaker on the Danville offense is junior Braidin Baughman, who led the Admirals in receiving yards (187 yards) last year and was second in rushing (685 yards, 2 TDs) and who Parks said is poised for a breakout season.
“I think you’re going to see a lot of that this year with more touches,” Parks said.
Senior Enrique Gutierrez-Jacobs (50 passing yards), who started the 2022 at quarterback but did not keep the job, returns to the position as a better player, Parks said.
“Enrique has improved tremendously from the winter to now,” Parks said.
Another explosive player is senior wide receiver Demontrae Trumbo (194 rushing yards, 44 receiving yards).
The offensive line will be led by seniors Kesean Jones and John Kelso. Parks said sophomore DyiRon Moody might be the best offensive and defensive lineman he has, but he is currently out with an injury, and freshman Keghan Jones will also play significant minutes.
Kesean Jones and Moody will be mainstays of the defensive line as well, while senior Richard Norris will once again be a key defensive player at linebacker and on the line and sophomore Sasha Wade has emerged as a talented linebacker.
Junior Kaleb Wilcher returns as the Admirals’ kicker and punter.
While the players are getting familiar with Parks and his system, Parks said his first priority in the offseason was to get familiar with them.
“The biggest thing I always do first is get to know the kids. I think if you do that, the transition becomes easier once you get on the field,” he said. “I tried to develop some great relationships when I first got here, and it was helpful that I came in here in January and didn’t have to wait until May or June.”
There also has been a push to put out more information about the team on social media.
“Nowadays social media plays a big role in the perception of your program,” Parks said.
Parks said he wants to see steady improvement in the early weeks of the season.
“We just want to continue to improve each time we step out on the field,” he said. “We don’t want to see the same mistakes from week one to week two. We want to see the communication improve, less mental mistakes and mental errors, locked in mentally with a great attitude and continuing to play hard.”
Danville opens its season tonight against West Jessamine in the R.J. Corman Bowl at East Jessamine.
The Colts were 4-7 last year in their fourth season under coach Scott Marsh, and they lost only five seniors.
There are 10 seniors on this year’s 78-man roster, including quarterback Jacob Jones, who threw for 2,415 yards and 23 TDs last year.
“They’re very sound on what they do and they have an identity,” Parks said. “We’re just going to have to stay the course and be locked in mentally.”
Aug. 18 – x-West Jessamine, 8:30
Aug. 26 – PULASKI COUNTY, 7:30
Sept. 1 – BOYLE COUNTY, 7:30
Sept. 8 – MERCER COUNTY, 7:30
Sept. 15 – at Knox Central, 7:30
Sept. 28 – CAMPBELLSVILLE, 7:30
Oct. 6 – at Leslie County, 7:30
Oct. 13 – at Somerset, 7:30
Oct. 20 – BREATHITT COUNTY, 7:30
Oct. 27 – BARDSTOWN, 7:30