Trojan’s offensive line struggles against Broncos

Published 8:03 pm Tuesday, September 4, 2018

After a lackluster season opener, head coach Neal Brown is already tinkering with the offensive line.

The Trojans entered the season with a lot of new faces in key roles on offense. They have a new quarterback in Kaleb Barker and running backs B.J. Smith, Jabir Daughtry-Frye and Jamarius Henderson in tandem replace Jordan Chunn. The offensive line, however, has largely remained the same since last season when they allowed just 15 sacks. In their first opportunity of the 2018 season, the offensive line allowed five sacks.

“The biggest issue we had offensively was in our protection,” Brown said. “We gave up five sacks which is crazy. We had 15 hits on the quarterback and we gave up 54 yards in negative plays.”

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Brown credits Troy’s struggle to the movement of Boise State’s defense.

“We just didn’t do a very good job at handling their movement,” Brown said. “They probably middle-twisted us more than what they have done in the past. We just didn’t play great on the offensive line as a whole.

Troy fell behind by as many as 28 points in the first half after the Broncos scored a touchdown on four-straight possessions. The offense was forced to change their game plan in order to score quickly and often.

Our protection is just something that I’ve got to do a better job preparing them for,” said offensive coordinator and offensive line coach matt Moore. “We kind of got in a spot we really didn’t want to be in. We didn’t want to be a drop back and throw team, but we kind of got in that spot.

“Any time you put that kind of pressure on those guys, all it takes is one guy messing up. That’s what we ran into. You go back and look at it, it’s like any loss – usually, you’ve got four people winning and one guy losing. That’s the way it is with O-line – everybody’s got to be on. I’ve got to do a better job of getting us ready for getting in that situation.”

Brown is already looking to make a change on the line after the first game performance. After struggling late last season, center Deontae Crumitie didn’t have the game Brown or Moore expected. Brown said Dylan Bradshaw will see time as the starting center this week in practice and will see plenty of playing time on Saturday.

“We have to be better at center,” Brown said. “That was one spot we did not play very well. He (Crumitie) didn’t play very well down the stretch last year in a couple of games. We are going to give Dylan Bradshaw the opportunity to play some snaps. We are going to play two centers in the game on Saturday. Dylan has practiced well and this will give him the opportunity to do it in a game.”

Austin Stidham got his first start at left tackle last Saturday night and is listed as the starter heading into this week. Brown also liked what he saw from the two guards Kirk Kelley and Tristan Carter

“I thought our guards, Kirk Kelley and Tristan Crowder, both played well,” Brown said. “I thought Austin Stidham, making his first start, did some good things.”