Troy offensive lineman Dalton Bennett agrees with the old football philosophy that the five big guys up front must work as one.
However, Bennett never figured that all five positions would be rolled up in to one player, and to a further extent, never thought the one player would be himself.
Bennett, a sophomore from Marianna, Florida, has seen time at each of the five spots along the Troy offensive line through the first half of the 2013 season. Bennett spent the majority of spring and fall camp working at center, to replace the departing Kyle Wilborn.
That all changed after a conversation with offensive line coach Jim Dye just a few days before the season opener against UAB.
“Coach (Dye) just came up to me and told me that I was moving to right guard,” Bennett said. “They said they wanted to put the best five on the field, and I wanted to help the team in whatever way I could. I had played guard before, so it wasn’t that big of a move.”
In Troy’s offensive scheme, the guards and tackles can switch and sub in and out multiple times during the game. The constant moving and shuffling has allowed Bennett to see time out on the edge at tackle, as well as his usual spot at guard.
“None of it worries me at all,” Bennett said. “It is really an honor to know they trust me to play all five spots. I am confident that I can man any of the spots at any time.”
Bennett played in all 12 games for the Trojans in 2012, with a total of 89 snaps. He graded out at 76.7 for the season, registered four knockdown blocks and allowed just one sack.
Bennett said that he is responsible for knowing the blocking assignments for all five positions. However, the soft-spoken sophomore said the requirement is nothing new to the o-line unit.
“When Coach Schlarman was here, he wanted all the guys to know where everyone else was going,” said Bennett. “He wanted the left tackle to know where the right guard was blocking and stuff like that. We have to work as a unit, so if you know where everyone is going we can open the holes up quicker and bigger.”
In last week’s 35-28 win over Georgia State, Troy ran 102 offensive plays, with 59 of those being runs.
As on offensive lineman, Bennett relishes the opportunity to run block.
Before the season started, people didn’t expect as good of blocking as we have been giving the backs,” Bennett said. “It means a lot to know they guy up in the box has confidence in our group to call 59 plays. We love to get on people and drive down field.”
Troy has an off week this weekend to rest up before traveling to Bowling Green, Kentucky next week. The Trojans will meet Sun Belt foe Western Kentucky Oct. 26 in a key conference game for both teams.