By Shaun Szkolnik, sports editor
TRUSSVILLE – Football season is almost upon us. As people in Alabama say, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. With so much anticipation, it is good to be able to take a peek at the upcoming season and see what is in store. Hewitt-Trussville Head Football Coach Josh Floyd was able to provide just such insights into the upcoming year for the Huskies.
“You want to get the most out of your team,” said Floyd. “Whatever that potential is. We start like everybody else; we want to try and bring home a championship to Trussville, that is our goal … we’ve had a great run the last three years, but we will try and take that next step and bring home a championship. We play some great competition; it is hard to do it. (We are) 7A Alabama football, so it is the best of the best. It is always great to have a few breaks, stay healthy, and all those type things.”
The Huskies compete at a very high level of high school athletics. Given this fact, it stands to reason that week after week, they will experience challenges that are beyond what many programs have to face.
“We have a very challenging schedule,” said Floyd. “It is going to be very difficult … it is one week at a time. Anytime you try and look ahead in this league you’re in trouble. We have a great region; it is probably the best one in the state.”
The Huskies will be well prepared for these challenges with three coaches in new positions.
“We’ve got a (new) defensive coordinator, Sean Talsma, he’s going to do a great job, and we’re really excited about him,” Floyd said. “Dylan Haraway is going to be our D-line coach; he is a new one. He was at Samford last year (and is an) energetic young guy that is really going to be really good for us. Leander Wallace was here last year, but he is taking over the role of receiver’s coach … this is just kind of a more increased role for him.”
A football program is always evolving and adapting to losing key players. The Huskies have had to part with a lot of talent this year, but every challenge provides an opportunity, and the Huskies are ready to make the most of theirs.
“We had a guy, Paul Tyson, that obviously signed with Alabama and had offers from all across the country,” Floyd said. “So, Paul, he broke just about every school record we had with the passing game. He was a guy that could make all the throws … Pierce Quick was a four-year starter on the offensive line, and he was a big-time player for us. Javaris Johnson, he signed with Auburn as a receiver, he was a guy who was super explosive and could score on any play. Defensively, we lost some guys too … we lost some really good players. But that is an exciting part of it, it is like that every year, and it’s exciting for these kids to have an opportunity. So, it should be interesting.”
The Huskies have also retained a lot of talent. That means new opportunities for those that will be playing this season.
“Our backfield is something we’re really excited about,” said Floyd. “Armoni Goodwin rushed over 1400 yards last year, and he’ll only be a junior, he’s going to be a really good football player. Sean Jackson is another guy that had around 500 yards; our backfield is a really a big strength for us. So, those guys are big returners. Dezalin Worsham, he had 87 receptions last year, and he is one of the best receivers in the country, and so has offers from everybody. He’s a guy that’s come back that we’re excited about. Jamyre Reese is another returning receiver … made some big plays … he’ll have a little bit more of an increased role. Sam Jones on defense is a guy … a returning tackler (and) had about fifty tackles last year. Malachi Moore is committed to Alabama; this will be his third year to start in the secondary for us. Eric Taylor, who’s committed to LSU, D-lineman. He is a really talented kid. He’s come a long way and had a great off season. He is going to do big things for us. Trey Washington is another one, Trey will be another guy on defense. He’ll probably play some offense too … he’s a really good football player. Logan Self is another one … this will be his third year to start on the O-line. So, he is a big part of what we are doing.
Losing a top quarterback like the Huskies have this season would be a challenge for any team. However, Seth Shelnut is ready to take to the field and shine.
“Seth Shelnut is a guy that really had a great summer,” said Floyd. “He’s a kid that can run. He is a dual-threat type of quarterback … when the play breaks down, he’s a guy that can go make a play with his feet and do different things. He has a good arm, as well. Jackson Holland is a guy that can probably play quarterback, as well, but he’s probably going to start at safety for us this year; we want to get him on the field. Cade Caruth is another quarterback; he’ll be a sophomore. He led our freshman team to an undefeated season last year. Cade’s got a lot of potential and a good future in head of him. We feel really good about quarterbacks this year.”
When Shelnut shines, he will be doing so right next to an explosive offense.
“We’re going to run our system like we always do,” said Floyd. “Who the quarterback is definitely affects what we do just because what type of quarterback you have. The benefit of our offense is that it is pretty easy to change things for our players. It’s all about players. It isn’t about me, or what I know or what our offensive coaches know, that doesn’t really matter. It is all about the kids.”
Another big change this year for the Huskies will be with the defense. There is a new defensive coordinator in town. Sean Talsma brings years of experience to the program and is ready to hit the field running.
“Obviously it is going to be different with a new coordinator,” Floyd said. “Coach Talsma’s done a really great job. He’s done a great job so far. I think the kids believe in him, believe in our system and what we are doing. That is definitely exciting. Defensively, I feel like our D-line has a chance to be strong. You have Eric Taylor, Justice Finkley … he is really, really talented. Phillip Bentley is another guy that played a lot last year on the D-line. We’re excited about those guys. I mentioned Malachi coming back … Sam Jones back at linebacker. Clint Simpson is another guy that is a linebacker that played a lot last year. Landon Ferguson … Jacob Seagle … Jermaine White … he’s only a sophomore but he’s going to get a lot of playing time as well on Friday nights.”
At the end of the day, as with the end of the game, football is more than a sport. It is a training ground for building good men.
“Football is not an easy sport,” said Floyd. “Especially these days. Kids have to really want to play. I always tell them … I want this to be just one of the experiences in life they never forget … our job and our role is to help them to be the best man they can be.”