Next man up: Troy’s offense takes a hit after losing Smith for the season

Published 7:10 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Troy head coach Chip Lindsey confirmed many thoughts and fears on Tuesday when he announced that senior running back B.J. Smith will be out for the year with a knee injury.

The senior running back will have surgery on his knee after sustaining a non-contact injury in Troy’s loss against Southern Miss on Saturday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

“That’s a huge blow for us because he’s a great player, but an even better person and leader for our team.” Lindsey said. “He’ll still be a very good leader for us, but we’re heartbroken over his injury.”

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Injuries are part of the game and the Trojans will look to younger players to fill in the role.

“It’s college football and the next man has to be ready,” Lindsey said. “We have some guys who will get some opportunities now. We wish B.J. the best in his recovery and hopefully we can get him back healthy as soon as we can, even though it won’t be this year.”

Smith rushed for 108 yards on 10 carries in Troy’s win over Campbell in the season opener. It was the sixth time in his career that he eclipsed 100 yards.

Since the injury happened so early in the season, the hope is that Smith will be granted a medical redshirt.

“It’s probably too early for me to comment because we really haven’t talked about it,” Lindsey said. “We’re still trying to get over the shock of him being injured. Obviously, he hasn’t redshirted before, so I feel pretty good about it, but we’ll have to see how that plays out. We’ll definitely take him back that’s for sure.”

In the meantime, the Trojans will turn to sophomore running back DK Billingsley. The sophomore has three rushing touchdowns so far this season and has accumulated 127 yards on 19 carries.

“I’ve been really impressed with DK,” Lindsey said. “DK had a great spring for us. He’s a very smart and knowledgeable football player who has already had a big role for us. He’ll get a little more of the load now for sure, and we’re confident he’ll do a great job.”

Billingsley will be leaned on more after Lindsey also announced that fellow running backs Jabir Daughtry-Frye and Jamontez Woods also suffered injuries and their status for Saturday is uncertain.

“We hope Jabir and Jamontez Woods will be back,” Lindsey said. “Obviously, we don’t know yet. It’s a little early. They are getting some treatment and getting stuff done. We have to prepare without them.”

The Trojans entered camp with five scholarship running backs. After Saturdays loss, two of them are healthy and ready to go for Troy’s game against Akron.

“You go into a season with five, really six scholarship running backs, Charles (Strong) is not eligible right now, you think you have five scholarship running backs,” Lindsey said. “Then in one game, three of them get banged up. It is what it is. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We’re not going to make excuses. We need to figure out how to get it done without them.”

Although heartbroken about the news, the Trojan players know it’s time to look forward.

“I’m sure everybody’s heartbroken,” Carlton Martial said. “We still have a season to go on. We look for the next man up. It’s hard not having B.J. Smith in the backfield. He’s like a brother to me. It hurts us, but we’ve got to move on.”

Lindsey announced that Trevon Woolfolk will get some time at running back. He also announced that receiver Demontrez Brown will also be out of for the season after sustaining an injury in Troy’s win against Campbell.