Running strong: After strong play at Nebraska, Smith earning the trust of Troy coaches

Published 9:10 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Troy Trojans have yet to find their number one running back, but junior B.J. Smith may be on his way to securing the job three games into the season.

The Trojans were forced to fill a void after their top two running backs in Jordan Chunn and Josh Anderson left. Smith was listed as the top back all throughout spring and fall camp with Jamarius Henderson, Jabir Daughtry-Frye and DK Billingsley behind him.

In the season’s first two games, Frye rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns. In Troy’s 24-19 win over Nebraska, Smith rushed for 70 yards and a season-high 2 touchdowns.

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I think good things happen to good people,” said head coach Neal Brown. “I think he’s a great teammate and a great kid and he’s all in from a program perspective. I was proud of him on Saturday because we have seen that in practice, but it hasn’t necessarily shown in a game yet at the running back position.”

With Henderson currently facing a suspension and Jabir Daughtry-Frye putting time on special teams, Brown would love to see Smith take control of the position.

We really need for him to takeover and be our featured back,” Brown said. “We also need some other guys to help him, but we need for him to takeover and I think he has potential to do that and he needs to build off that performance and not take a step back.”

Smith scored his first of two touchdowns midway through the second quarter when he took a handoff nine yards, putting the Trojans up 17-0.

Perhaps the biggest touchdown of the game came with 6:45 remaining in the game and the Trojans clinging to a four-point lead. Smith took a Kaleb Barker handoff 26 yards for a touchdown. Smith was quick to credit his offensive linemen who broke open a mammoth hole for the junior.

“The O-line has done a tremendous job,” Smith said. “They deserve all the credit, and the receivers blocking down the line, they deserve all the credit.”

It was a play that Smith played back in his head many times on the way to the airport. Once on the plane, the exhausted Smith could only do one thing.

“When I got on that plane and we got in the air, I was looking at the back of my eyelids,” Smith said.

That type of play was something that the coaching staff was working for all throughout the week of practice.

“Coach Moore got them ready, and they blocked it and he ran it. That’s how it works,” said Troy quarterback Sawyer Smith. “When you do that, it works good. Coach Brown, Coach Moore and Coach Reagan, they all talked about it all week. They said don’t get frustrated with the 2-yard runs, it will open up. It opened up for us at the end on my run and a few more runs there at the end.”

As for the title of lead back, Smith just wants to continue to work hard and help out the offense.

“That’s really the coaches’ decision,” Smith said. “That’s on the coaching staff. At the running back position, we just try to go out and make plays. I try not to really get involved in that. I just try to go out and play 110 percent every play.”