Hoover High School head football coach Josh Niblett with seniors Kholbe Coleman-Abrams, left, and Garrett Farquhar, right, at the Jefferson-Shelby Media Days on Tuesday, July 26, 2016, at the Gardendale Civic Center.
Hoover High School participated in the Jefferson-Shelby Media Days on Tuesday, July 26.
Before an audience of local media at the Gardendale Civic Center, Hoover head football coach Josh Niblett answered about 15 minutes of questions alongside seniors Kholbe Coleman-Abrams and Garrett Farquhar. Niblett said that Coleman-Abrams, a linebacker, and Farquhar, the Bucs' projected starting quarterback, are two of the team's leaders.
Hoover went 10-3 in 2015. They reached the Class 7A state semifinal, but lost to Spain Park High School, 7-6. It was the first time the Bucs failed to advance to the state final since 2007.
"Sometimes you have to lose something before you realize how much you enjoyed having it," Niblett said.
This offseason, Niblett said one of his main objectives has been to instill a focus on celebrating everyday triumphs. As the head of a program steeped in expectations, Niblett said it's a practice that can be easily forgotten.
"In our program, it's a relief to win. It's not a joy. I told our kids: We're changing that. We 're going to appreciate winning," Niblett said. "The teams that sustain success are the guys who high-five and chest bump, those who enjoy each other and celebrate."
Coleman-Abrams and Farquhar said they both have already noticed a culture shift.
Coleman-Abrams said the Bucs have become more unified, and Farquhar said there has been a boost in energy.
"I've seen a lot more excitement, more fun, enjoying the game," Farquhar said.
Niblett said the seven months of offseason training following the semifinal loss have been "some of the best" his team has ever had. The 2016 Hoover roster, Niblett said, features a tight-knit bunch of guys who are concentrated on competing.
"This group is focused, hungry," Niblett said. "As a coach, it's an exciting time for you when your kids are locked in."