By Gary Lloyd
Where Hewitt-Trussville will be lacking in size this fall, it will try to make up for in quickness.
“We’re going to be OK,” said 12th-year Huskies head coach Hal Riddle. “We’re just not going to be as big.”
The offensive line won’t be as big, especially at the right guard position, vacated by three-year starter Carson Cooper, a 6-foot-6, 330-pounder now playing at Mississippi College.
Riddle said Hewitt-Trussville, which posted a 4-6 record last season, won’t be a team that lines up and pounds the ball between the tackles 45 times per game. The ball will be spread around on offense, and the defense will need to be fast from sideline to sideline.
Offensively, 5-foot-9, 160-pound senior Peyton Palmer will see a lot of time at running back. He’s not the typical between-the-tackles runner, but he will come out of the backfield and slot to catch passes.
“In the past, we’ve had guys that can just about do it all,” Palmer said. “They can run outside, they can run inside. They have power, they have speed.”
Riddle said the offense returns just three starters from a season ago. All the skill positions are filled with new starters, though senior wideout DeMarcus Kelly has significant experience.
“We think we may have a few more guys that can catch the ball,” Riddle said.
The same aspect applies to the defense, which is lacking in game experience. Riddle pointed to defensive ends Austin Wysor, Hunter Songer, Joseph Roberts, and linebacker Hunter Reid, as players who should stand out on defense.
He said senior defensive lineman Michael Messer, safeties Luc Riddle and Deontay Wilson, and senior cornerbacks Caleb Rigg and Harper Johnson will contribute to a relatively inexperienced defense.
The defense doesn’t have “a lot of hollering guys,” Riddle said. They lead by example rather than vocally. Riddle just wants them in the right spots.
“We think we’re going to move around, be a little quicker,” Riddle said. “If we’re not getting around and running guys to the ball, we’ll be in trouble.”
Of the 99 players listed on Hewitt-Trussville’s roster, 35 are seniors. There are 22 juniors and a whopping 42 sophomores listed.
“We’ve still got a bunch of work to do, but we’ve got a lot of good young ones,” Riddle said. “We’ve just got to get them ready to go.”
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