TROY – After rewatching Saturday’s scrimmage, Troy head coach Chip Lindsey didn’t think it was the B-movie he thought he witnessed live.
“We did make a few more plays than I probably gave us credit for,” Lindsey said after the Trojans practiced about two hours in shells (shoulder pads, helmets and shorts) on Monday.
His impression about the defensive line, however, was confirmed.
“The D-line, like I thought, was really good at times,” the coach said. “They moved the line of scrimmage in the backfield, which I hope continues to be a trend when we get into playing games.”
Defensive coordinator Brandon Hall said after the scrimmage the defensive front was disruptive, starting with sophomore defensive lineman Will Choloh.
“Choloh sticks out, but maybe it’s the number,” Hall said, referring to the Lawrenceville, Ga., product’s No. 5, a rarity for a defensive lineman. “The biggest thing for me about him is I’ve never seen the kid not smile. I love coaching him.”
Choloh led all Sun Belt Conference freshmen with three sacks last season. He played in all 13 games, but learned behind senior nose guard Trevon Sanders.
“I could say thank you to Trevon. He taught me a lot of things,” Choloh said. “Right after he left he told me to keep it moving. That’s my job, keep it moving, keep us together and keep us dominating.”
Choloh and senior Marcus Webb are among Troy’s most experienced defensive linemen. New defensive line coach Davern Williams said it hasn’t been easy for those two to adjust to the changes he’s brought in technique, assignment and approach up front.
“It hasn’t been easy for Webb more than Choloh just because of what they did last year, their strengths,” Williams said at the team’s media day session after Saturday’s scrimmage. “The strength of both those guys is their athletic ability. They’re used to dipping and running across the face.
“Here I am coming in and teaching them how to come out of their hips and work with their hands. It’s been a little bit different for those two guys because of the super athleticism they have. Choloh at this point is a little ahead of Webb with the technique.
“ Webb is not that far behind. Again, just footwork issues we have to work out with him. Both those guys will be unstoppable in that area as far as taking on a block and as far as being athletic and able to make plays.”
Choloh said Monday the change hasn’t been that drastic.
“There are a lot of similarities to the defens e last year. We move around, run to the ball,” the sophomore said. “We trust everything coach Dav is teaching us. We’re trying to get better every day. We’re trying to be the best unit in the Sun Belt.”
Troy has added more depth on the defensive front than might be expected.
“We signed more two D-linemen after the signing day because Marcus had a shoulder and Travis (Sailo) had a shoulder,” Hall said, adding the additions of Elgin Griffin from Valdosta, Ga., and Malik Pertee from Ocala, Fla., have helped that unit.
Choloh said it is a deep group with players improving every day.
“It starts with me, Webb, Travis, Trevon Mathis,” Choloh began. “We’ve got a lot of young guys stepping up, too.”
His own development continues, Choloh said. He credited strength coach SaJason Finley’s program.
“Working with coach Finley this summer, he got us a lot faster, a lot stronger,” Choloh said, the 6-footer adding he’s down to 270 pounds. “I lost about 12, 15 pounds.”
The good attitude, however, is his own and he brings it every day, Hall said.
“He makes my job very easy because he shows up every day and he’s a great teammate and a great person,” the defensive coordinator said. “I’m very fortunate to get to coach a kid like him.”
Week of change: Troy players will also be Troy students by the time this Saturday’s scrimmage rolls around. Classes at Troy start on Wednesday. Practice, which during camp has started no later than 9 a.m., will move to its traditional 3:40 p.m. time.
“It’s a big week,” Lindsey said after practice. “ Our players, they’ll get back on a student schedule, so to speak. We’ll take off for the first school day, let those guys get adjusted to that.
“We’ll do a lot of situationals on Thursday and Friday – third downs, red zone, probably some two-minute, stuff like that – to get us ready for our scrimmage on Saturday.”
Seeing the small stuff: Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker saw what he expected to see from the film of Saturday’s scrimmage.
“It’s nothing ability-wise, it’s more just doing the small stuff,” Barker said. “For me, just following directions, doing my part, going through my progressions correctly. There weren’t too many mistakes, sometimes just making a wrong throw here or there, but just the small things – and that’s everywhere at every position. You’ve got to know which way to go on certain stuff.”
Barker smiled when asked about a long catch-and-run by B.J. Smith for a touchdown. The quarterback threw a checkdown pass to Smith when his primary target was covered on that play.
“He always tells me throw it to the backs,” Barker said. “I’m trying to get in the habit of that.”
Scrimmage closed: Saturday’s second scrimmage is the last one of camp before the Aug. 31 season opener at home against Campbell. The workout in Veterans Memorial Stadium will be closed to the public and to the media.