By Erik Harris
TRUSSVILLE — Many didn’t give Josh Floyd a chance in his first season at Hewitt-Trussville. The schedule was too rugged and Class 7A, Region 3 was too talent-loaded.
Four months later, all the experts swiping the Huskies from their playoff-bound list should write Floyd a letter of apology after he coached his way to an even .500 regular season that ended with a postseason berth.
That 5-6 record did come as a surprise to most, but the first-year coach, despite being named the Birmingham Metro Coach of the Year, is unsatisfied.
“We didn’t come here to go 5-6 and go to the playoffs,” Floyd said. “We want to try to win a championship.”
With seven starters returning from an offense that averaged more than 31 points per game, a championship wont be as farfetched in 2015.
Quarterback Zac Thomas and running back Jarrion Street, both seniors-to-be, will provide the offense with great leadership as returning starters. The duo combined for 43 touchdowns in 2014. Both made their way on the Alabama Sports Writers Association All-State team along with offensive tackle Kyle Miskelley.
Floyd feels that his up-tempo offense can operate with more efficiency in his second year.
“There’s no doubt in my mind we’re going to be so much better prepared going into next season,” Floyd said. “I think the level of teaching can go deeper. There’s definitely parts of our offense we didn’t get to (last year).”
There’s much room for improvement on the defensive side, especially with defensive coordinator Adam Caine leaving for a head coaching position in Tennessee. In one season at Hewitt-Trussville, Cane’s unit allowed 33.5 points per game. Six defensive starters are set to return, and their new coordinator is currently being pursued.
Whoever the replacement is, he will have the task of bulking up a group that sometimes lacked physicality. Floyd believes a tough offseason in the weight room could go a long way next fall, particularly for his defense.
“Our lack of strength probably hurts you on the defensive side more than the offensive side,” Floyd said. “Defensively, that’s a big part of it – being physical – and I think there were times we got worn down there so that’s something we can fix this offseason, hopefully.”
Another important aspect of the summer will be Thomas and the offensive improving their timing. In his first season as a full-time starter, Thomas completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,738 yards while adding another 1,137 yards on the ground. His coach wants to see that passing yardage grow and that rushing yardage shrink.
“We ran (Thomas) more than I’d like to run him this year,” Floyd said. “There were times he was running it 20 times and that’s not the goal of our offense. I think we’ll be a lot better in the passing game next year.”
With Floyd’s offense returning three All-State performers and the defense making offseason improvements, Region 3 could add a third top-10 team next year.