By Gary Lloyd
TRUSSVILLE — They don’t want to slow down.
The goal for this year’s Hewitt-Trussville defensive players is to play fast, to play with effort every single down. Defenders see that out of the offense in practice every day.
Head coach Josh Floyd said first-year defensive coordinator Adam Caine is a “real intense, real aggressive kind of coach.” He has a high energy level, and he knows when to get after players, and when to joke with them.
“He’s got a way with communicating with them, obviously,” Floyd said.
Junior middle linebacker Bailey McElwain said Caine is the best defensive coordinator in the state.
“We’re looking good,” McElwain said.
The defense lost four of its top five tacklers from a season ago due to graduation. The total experience lost is significant.
“I haven’t even thought about that,” McElwain said. “I look at our guys and I feel so much confidence in our guys.”
Deontay Wilson was the leading tackler from a season ago — 123 tackles — and he returns this season to the secondary. Junior Jaison Williams made 18 tackles last season and is looking good at defensive end. The linebacker corps of McElwain, junior Jalen Williams and junior Tanner Harwell is also looking good. Senior Devin Reed, in addition to running back, should see time at defensive back because of his athleticism.
“Everybody has gotten faster and a lot stronger,” McElwain said.
This year’s defense will have a 3-3-5 look, but will be multiple, like most defenses in an age of various offenses have to be. Floyd said the defenders have picked up the new scheme well.
The Hewitt-Trussville defense last season held opponents to 25.5 points per game. It held five of its 11 opponents to fewer points than their season averages. The highest goal is to keep offenses to zero points per game. That goal is likely unattainable, but it shows a beaming confidence level.
“It’s the work we’re putting in,” McElwain said. “We look at it as we’re practicing harder than anyone else.”
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.