Competitive Troy defense leads team in to big Sun Belt game

Published 7:34 pm Wednesday, October 30, 2013

By Danielle Percival

The Trojan defense enters every game with a common goal; however, the opponent’s offense isn’t the only competition on the field.

This season, the internal competition among the defensive players has been raised and the overall success has risen with it.

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The two leading tacklers on the team are safeties Camren Hudson and Chris Pickett, and they’re putting pressure on the linebackers to elevate their game.

“They’ve got to step it up,” Hudson said. “It’s a big competition between us and the linebackers on tackles.”

“I ain’t really all for being third on the team in tackles but, you know, we [are] winning so it’s all good,” linebacker Mark Wilson said.

Pickett and Wilson both had career highs in tackles in the Trojans’ last game at Western Kentucky, but it was Pickett who had the bragging rights in the end.

“When we got on the bus, first thing Mark said was, ‘My girl told me I had 12 tackles.’ I said, “Man I’m looking at the stat sheet. You had 10 tackles. I had 14,” Pickett said.

“I had got[ten] excited, but it is what it is,” Wilson said. “We’ve been going on all season about it. I’ve been trying to catch him and Cam[ren] but they’re always one step ahead of me.”

Just because Wilson is eyeing the numbers on the stat sheets and trying to surpass the safeties doesn’t mean he can’t appreciate what the members of the defense are accomplishing.

“We’ve got two good safeties,” Wilson said. “They’re greedy and it’s good for us so I ain’t complaining as long as we’re getting the job done.”

“I tell them boys, ‘We’re out here trying to make a living just like y’all,’” Pickett said. “They know it’s all fun. We’re all competitive guys out there.”

No matter the level of competition, it’s clear the team is fighting for one goal.

“We’ve got to play for each other on any snap,” Pickett said. “It’s always great to have that confidence [in one another] and to look in your teammates’ eyes and see that confidence.”

It will take a team effort to keep pushing for the conference title and that continues Thursday night against Louisiana-Monroe.

“This cat coming in here Thursday night is gonna put a lot of pressure on them [the defense], I promise you,” head coach Larry Blakeney said. “His name’s Kolton Browning.”

Browning is the Warhawks’ quarterback who missed a portion of the season with an injury and was rumored to miss the rest of the year, however, he returned last week to face Georgia State.

“When Kolton’s in, it’s a whole different game,” Hudson said. “It’s gonna be a test for us but we’ll be ready for it.”

“We’ve got to play good on defense. We’re gonna give some stuff up there’s no question,” Blakeney said. “We’ve just got to make sure you try to limit them, get stops and get off the field and give the offense the ball.”

Thursday night’s conference match-up will be at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium with kickoff at 6:30 p.m.