Stopping the run key for Trojans against the Eagles

Published 6:50 pm Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Troy defense will have their hands full on Saturday afternoon trying to contain the strong ground attack of Georgia Southern.

The Trojans control their own destiny in the Sun Belt Conference Eastern Division race, but to hold on to that they will have to control the conference’s top-ranked rushing unit.

There will be more than one key matchup in Saturday’s game, but the most important battle will surely be Georgia Southern’s running game going up against Troy’s run defense.

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The Eagles have rushed for a total of 2,344 yards this season and 285 yards per game. They will be going up against the conference’s stingiest run defense in Troy. The Trojans have held opponents to just 126 yards per game this season.

“They aren’t necessarily an under-center option team, but they are a gun option team,” said head coach Neal Brown. “They’re very similar to where they were when Willy Fritz was the head coach at Georgia Southern. They will go under center a little bit and run that option, but most of it is from the gun. They do a really nice job and use some motions.”

The Eagles have two players that have broken the 600-yard mark, led by quarterback Shai Werts. The redshirt sophomore has rushed for 681 yards thus far this season and has 10 rushing touchdowns.  Senior Wesley Fields is not far behind him with 643 yards and six touchdowns.

“They are led by their quarterback Shai Werts,” Brown said. “He’s special with the ball in his hands out in space, he does a really good job in carrying out his fakes and I think he’s an underrated passer. In the games they have played really well, he hit some really nice throws down the field. Their running back Wesley Fields feels like he’s been there forever. He has been productive year in and year out and this year is no difference.”

All week long, Trojan coaches will preach the importance of eye discipline. According to Melvin Tyus, it’s all about communicating and staying disciplined.

“Everybody just communicating and discipline, all of that comes with it,” Tyus said. “Just every guy knowing what they have on each play. They do a lot of moving around in the backfield, option offense. It’s about reading your keys. It’s not so much focusing on the run, but also having discipline enough that if they pass, you have to be in position to make a play.”