Experienced line returns for Trojans
Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 1, 2002
The ‘Trojan Wall’ is alive and well at Troy State.
All five starters return on the offensive line, a unit that was plagued with inconsistency last season under first-year line coach Greg Adkins.
Adkins enters his second year with a good deal of confidence.
"All of our guys have had a year in the offense and played considerable time," he said. "Staying healthy will be the key. Last season, we were able to avoid major injuries. If we can do that again, we have a chance to be even better."
The Trojans’ offensive line allowed 42 sacks last season and the rushing game, a traditionally strong part of the team during head coach Larry Blakeney’s tenure, dropped off as well.
Granted, in offensive coordinator John Shannon’s Trojan Spread attack, there was a greater emphasis placed on the passing game.
And true, the Trojans did finish the season averaging a little over 100 yards per outing on the ground.
Yet in all four losses last year, only once did Troy State manage to crack the 100-yard barrier, that coming in a 34-7 loss to No. 1 Miami when the game had already been decided.
Both Maryland and Nebraska held the Trojans to negative yards rushing and the Trojans only totalled 61 against Middle Tennessee.
This year look for TSU to rely heavily on the play of its two starting tackles; senior Stan Curington and junior Branden Hall, both All-Independent candidates. Curington is one of the largest players on the team at 6-foot-7, 294 pounds and has started 23 consecutive games, making the senior from Ashburn, Ga., the most experienced lineman on the team.
"Stan had a solid junior year," said Adkins. "We are looking for big things out of him again. Branden is our most talented lineman. He has the potential to be an All-Independent type guy."
Sandwiched between Curington and Hall will be guards, Rodney Jordan and Robin Lee. After missing the Trojans’ final two games last year, Trent Garmon returns at center.
Jordan is a local favorite, having played his high school ball at Goshen under then-head coach Julius Head. He’s a versatile player who can play every position on the offensive line, and has in the past.
"Both of those guys (Lee and Jordan) played a lot of snaps last year," Adkins said. ""Plus, we moved Lee Walls from tackle to guard in the spring, and the transition went well. That gives us a lot of experience at those two spots."
Curington will be backed by junior Henry Tellis, a player the coaches hope can fight his way into seeing significant playing time as the season goes on. Tellis is a 6-foot-5, 300-pound native of Montgomery. He saw action in seven games for the Trojans last year, tallying 74 total snaps, which included five knockdown blocks. Following his senior year at Sidney Lanier High School, Tellis was listed as among the "Best of the Rest" by college football recruiting analyst Forrest Davis.
Walls will play reserve on both sides with sophomore Donnie Bostain, freshman Wes Garmon and senior Obed Ellis also seeing action in reserve.