GETTING OFFENSIVE: Trojans hope to find offense against Boise State

Published 10:43 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2018

For the second consecutive season, the Troy Trojans open up with the Boise State Broncos. This time however, the Trojans hope to open the campaign with a win.

The Trojans fell to the Broncos a year ago 24-13. It was one of their two losses on the year.

The Trojans struggled to muster much offense in the opener. Seven of the Trojans’ points came on an interception return for a touchdown by Blace Brown.

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In all, the Trojans tallied just 215 total yards on offense and had eight offensive penalties.

“We were a mess offensively last year,” said head coach Neal Brown. “I think we had eight offensive penalties, we had several tackles for loss, we gave up a couple sacks – I think we had 20-something plays of second or third and long, so we were in some bad situations all day.”

This year, with key cogs Brandon Silvers, Jordan Chunn and Emmanuel Thompson no longer on the team, the challenge may be even stiffer. The Broncos return 10 of their 11 starters from last year’s unit and have arguably one of the better secondaries in the country.

“They were top-25 last year,” Brown said. “They are physical. The thing that sticks out to me is that we only broke one tackle last year, which is unheard of. They are great tacklers and they dominated us last year. They have 10 starters back and I think they have one of the best secondaries in the country.”

Newly named starting quarterback Kaleb Barker, along with Sawyer Smith, will have to go up against two corners worthy of NFL consideration and the rest of the Bronco secondary.

“They have two corners that have potential to play in the NFL. (Tyler) Horton is their top guy there,” Brown said. “They have a safety (Kekoa Nawahine) that is their returning tackler. He is physical and makes a bunch of plays.”

Last year, Silvers was sacked twice against the Broncos and was hit many more times. The offensive line contributed to many of the of the eight offensive penalties. According to center Deontae Crumitie, the unit wasn’t ready.

“Last year I don’t think we were really ready for the game,” Crumitie said. “This year I feel like we are really prepared for it. Everybody is invested in doing extra film study, working hard, practicing hard. I feel like this year we are going to come out and get them.”

The offensive line was more in flux a season ago. New guys were playing in new positions and it took time for them to get acclimated.

“It was a lot of having inexperience up front,” said offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Matt Moore. “Crum played some, but other than that we had Rowzee in a new position and we did a lot of fundamental things incorrectly.”

This time, the Trojans come into the matchup with more experience along the offensive line that could bode well against a formidable Broncos defense.

“Those guys are a lot different than they were. I’m looking forward to the game plan this week. For us upfront it’s about getting hats on hats, not allowing penetration and protecting the quarterback. If we can do those things, it’s hard to get movement against a good defensive line, but if you can put your hat where it’s supposed to be and not allow penetration and get your running backs to the line of scrimmage, then you have a chance.”

The Trojans offense looks to get off to a better start when they kick things off with the Broncos at 5 p.m. on Saturday inside Veterans Memorial Stadium.