By Erik Harris
TRUSSVILLE – The competition isn’t going to change and neither is its will to get in the end zone, but Hewitt-Trussville’s defense – the same unit that surrendered a combined 151 points over the final three weeks of last season – is optimistic about 2015.
The unit, which will be under the direction of first-year defensive coordinator Rudy Griffin, has something it didn’t have at the dawn of last year. An understanding of what it takes to play on the same sideline as a “Husky Fast” offense.
“Typically, your defense is going to be on the field a little bit longer,” Hewitt-Trussville head coach Josh Floyd said at the Jefferson-Shelby high school football media days. “I don’t think it’s a drastic change, but they’re going to be on the field a little bit longer and a lot of it comes down to if you get three-and-outs and make them punt, then they’re not on [the field] very long.”
Floyd isn’t interested in his defense holding opponents to a certain scoring total this season. He’s much more interested in having a defense that can deliver timely stops that earn wins on Friday night, regardless of how high the final score is.
“If you hold people to 14 to 17 points these days, that’s really good defense, so we don’t necessarily have a magic number there. We want to score one more than they do,” Floyd said.
In order to come through with those timely stops, Griffin will field a flexible defense capable of changing its look. Unlike last season, Floyd wants the defense to be capable of throwing multiple looks at opposing offenses.
“It’s going to be a very multiple defense,” said Floyd. “We weren’t quite as multiple last year. Coach Griffin has done a great job instilling that philosophy with our kids.”
Hewitt-Trussville is expected to be talented in the front seven with Bailey McEllwain, Jalen Williams and Jason Williams returning for their senior seasons. That group should also get a big lift from Leeds transfer Christian Smith, who garnered all-state status as a sophomore for the Green Wave.
The Huskies’ biggest question mark resides in the secondary, where the departure of safety Deontay Wilson – Hewitt-Trussville’s third-leading tackler as a senior – will be hard to replace.