During grueling summer workouts in the Albany High School weight room, exhausted Hornets could count on more than simple instruction from their new head coach.

Sometimes, they found Mike Janis right by their side.

"If I'm going to ask you to do something really tough, I want you to know I am going to get on the line and do it with you," Janis explained. "I'm not going to ask them to do anything physically I myself haven't done or wouldn't do."

Now that the summer has passed, Janis will look for the Hornets to continue following his lead as he opens his first season as a head coach.

He inherits an Albany team coming off its second straight playoff appearance, the most recent season having ended with the school's first-ever home playoff game. He takes over for Blane Westmoreland, who resigned following the 2017-18 school year to take a position at Live Oak near his Watson home.

By starting his new job so late in the offseason cycle, Janis has had little time to reacquaint himself with the school where he worked as an assistant early in his career.

But he said his familiarity with the program has helped ease the transition.

"It's going to take time to really get it to what I want it to be, but that's something we have already started to do," he said.

Janis is easing the Hornets out of the old-school Wing-T they ran under Westmoreland and into the type of spread offense he envisions in the years to come.

For now, Albany will operate out of a shotgun formation while continuing to employ many Wing-T concepts.

One thing that won't change is the reliance on a big, physical offensive line with the ability to win the line of scrimmage that became a staple under Westmoreland the last couple of years. Four of five starters return up front plus tight end Tyler Bates.

And even though Brad Lewis and Cameron Myers have graduated, Albany's attack will still be one that begins on the ground.

Justin Parrish and Rhett Wolfe look to form their own dynamic duo in the Albany backfield after watching Lewis and Myers combine for 3,700 rushing yards last year. That would take some pressure off young Jerimiah Doherty, the Day 1 starter behind center as a freshman.

The strength of the defense, like the offense, is in its size and strength up front.

All-district selection David Perez leads a defensive line that returns three of four starters. None of those players is listed at less than 270 pounds.

"That's definitely our strength," Janis said, "is being a big, physical offensive and defensive line."

The Hornets have entered Week 10 with a district championship on the line each of the last two seasons but have fallen short both times.

Could they get another shot this year? Defending District 7-3A champ Loranger visits Albany to close the regular season.

Albany

Coach: Michael Janis

2017: 8-3

PROJECTED OFFENSIVE STARTERS

*C Pierce Ziebarth (5-9, 265), *OG Dawson Smith (5-5, 210), *OT Ronnie Turbeville (6-0, 305), *OG Jacob Giachetti (5-6, 260), OT Noah Canet (6-4, 305), *TE Tyler Bates (6-1, 165), *WR Chase Robertson (5-6, 155), RB Rhett Wolfe (5-7, 140), *RB Justin Parrish (5-6, 165), *FB Casey Thompson (6-0, 175), QB Jerimiah Doherty (6-1, 175)

PROJECTED DEFENSIVE STARTERS

DE Pierce Ziebarth (5-9, 265), *DT Ian Miller (5-9, 280), *DT Ronnie Turbeville (6-0, 305), *DE David Perez (5-10, 270), LB Tyler Bates (6-1, 165), DB Orlando Pineda (5-7, 160), *DB Rhett Wolfe (5-7, 140), DB Nicholas Prejaun (5-6, 165), DB Jerimiah Doherty (6-1, 175), *DB Dae Doherty (5-9, 160)

*-- denotes returning starters

SCHEDULE

Aug. 31 Varnado

Sept. 7 at Independence

Sept. 14 Springfield

Sept. 21 Sophie B. Wright

Sept. 28 Sci Academy

Oct. 5 at Bogalusa*

Oct. 11 Jewel Sumner*

Oct. 19 at Hannan*

Oct. 26 Grant

Nov. 2 at Loranger*

*--denotes district game