Starters, backups and future – Defensive line

Published 9:42 pm Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Troy football team reports for camp at the end of July, first practice is set for Aug. 1. In this series, we’ll touch on every position and look at the starters, the backups and the future.


The Starters:

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Though the entire defense will be looking for drastic improvement in 2013, the defensive line is hoping for a breakout season. Troy needs an improved pass rush if it hopes to fend off its tough opponents this season. As a team, Troy recorded just 13 sacks. The Trojans lose a leader in Tony Davis but gain experience in Shermame TeArt, Antonio Gillespie and Tyler Roberts.

Roberts (6-2, 227)burst onto the scene last year as the Trojans hybrid linebacker but will now start at defensive end with his hand in the dirt. It will be interesting to see how Roberts responds and produces this season. If he continues to progress, he could be an all-conference caliber player for years to come.

Marty Stadom (6-2, 242) is penciled is as the starter opposite of Roberts. Stadom, a senior, played in all 12 games last year and recorded two sacks. He will need to keep Troy’s attack balanced and keep quarterbacks and linemen honest.

Gillespie (6-1, 295) and TeArt (6-1, 275) return for their senior seasons with high expectations. Gillespie, who took a redshirt last year, has been placed on some preseason All-Sun Belt lists while TeArt played in five games before suffering an injury. This tandem, along with their reserves, will be looked upon to improve Troy’s rush defense that allowed 182 yards per game last year.


Expect plenty of these names to be called in 2013.

At defensive end, the Trojans will look to Deon Lee (6-3, 232) and Jadarius Garner (6-2, 223) to spell for Stadom and Roberts. Garner had some off-the-field trouble during the off season when he was arrested for disorderly conduct along with women’s basketball player Brooke Bowie following an altercation at a local bar. Garner has a future court date set but according to witnesses and other accounts, he may be in the clear.

One player most Troy fans are anxious to see perform is Arkansas transfer Lonnie Gosha (6-2, 257). He sat out last season due to transfer rules but had a redshirt available so he enters 2013 as a sophomore. Gosha played in four games for the Razorbacks as a freshman. Obviously, there is some talent there but it doesn’t appear as though Gosha is rising on the coaches’ depth chart as quickly as they had hoped. He may one they are trying to keep under the radar, but for now expectations for him remain unknown.

The Future:

Troy has some young players like Roberts and Lee — both sophomores — but other than that the cupboard is kind of bare. Micah Moore (6-1, 225), Garrett Peak (6-3, 258) and Bryan Slater (6-2, 268) are all freshman who show some promise. Expect Troy to add some JUCO guys sooner rather than later as the coaches may feel that route gives them a better opportunity to get bigger, more experienced talent on the field quicker while they develop the younger guys.