Offensive line taking shape
Published 3:00 am Friday, August 18, 2017
After losing third-round draft pick Antonio Garcia, the Troy Trojans will enter the season with a new-look offensive line.
The Trojans offensive line was one of the top units in the country a season ago, allowing just eight sacks all season long. But with Garcia gone to the NFL, there are questions up front for the Trojans.
“We lose Antonio Garcia, who is an third-round NFL draft pick,” said head coach Neal Brown. “I think we have the opportunity to be better collectively on the offensive line than we were a year ago.”
The Trojans have had eight to nine players rotate in and out to get some needed experience before the start of the season.
“That’s always good,” said offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield. “We have a center (Deontae Crumitie) that’s going to be a second year starter for us. Deontae Crumitie has done a really nice job.”
The Trojans found a couple of guys in Steven Rowzee and Kirk Kelley to help on the left side of the line.
“They have all done a really nice job,” Edenfield said. “They all have kind of rotated on the left side.”
On the right side of the line the Trojans will be able to get playing time from Tristan Crowder, James Peach and J.O. Gadsden. Dylan Bradshaw will also help out at center.
“We feel like we have had as much depth as we have had in a long time,” Edenfield said. “That’s really where you win football games is inside.”
With fall camp winding down after tonight’s scrimmage, Crumitie feels like the unit is on their way to having a successful season.
“As a unit, I think we will be really good this year,” Crumitie said. “I feel like we have a chance to be better than we were last year. Up front, we are bonding together and getting better playing with each other.”
Communication has been the key to the success of the interior of the offensive line this summer.
“We are looking really good inside,” Crumitie said. “We push every day.”
With Garcia now gone, Crumitie believes with a little work the drop-off with Rowzee and Kelly may not be severe.
“He was really good last year,” Crumitie said. “This year Rowzee is stepping up to be left tackle along with Kelley, and I feel like they can be on the same level.”
Last season, the offensive line blocked for 1,000-yard rusher Jordan Chunn.
“We take pride in that,” Crumitie said. “We want to run the ball. We feel like if we can run the ball than we can take a lot off the receivers.”
The offensive line will face a major challenge to start the season when they travel to take on Boise State on September 2.
“It’s going to be a big test to see how we play as a unit,” Crumitie said. “We want to beat them that’s our main goal. Offensive line wise we are going to see how good we are together.”