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Playbook Review: Troy Trojans

How David schemed to take down Goliath

Troy v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Troy added another notch to its P5 belt by beating Nebraska at Memorial Field last weekend. After upsetting LSU last year, Coach Neal Brown is building a resume that should land him a head coaching gig at a P5 school soon. Throughout the week, Coach Brown had mentioned that his team would have a difficult time controlling the line of scrimmage against a defensive line that outweighed them, and linebackers larger than any they would see throughout the season. With mismatches across the line, CNB had to get creative with how to attack the Husker’s defense.


From the get-go, it was clear the Trojans were using motion to gain a numbers advantage. They showed an Orbit motion through the game, motioning the slot receiver to the backfield, for option looks as the pitch man (though never actually pitching to him). The most effective, however, was the Travel motion where the RB motioned to the flats pre-snap.

Pre Snap Motion

In all of the instances, the Trojans were looking at a four man defensive line and two linebackers when they were in 10 Personnel (1 RB, 0 TE) and two receivers to each side. When they Travel motioned the RB out, the LB would follow that direction leaving a 5 man box. Heck of a lot easier to block 5-on-5 then 5-on-6.


Spacing of wide receivers

Troy also lined trips receivers to the far side of the field on numerous occasions. The Cornhuskers defended trips by sending over a corner and nickel, with a linebacker splitting the difference in space. By having the ball on the opposite hash and lining up this far away from the ball, it created a massive lane and stretched the defense horizontally. Troy was able to take advantage of this on several occasions, none bigger than Sawyer Smith’s long run on an option.

Neal Brown has cut his teeth against some good defenses as an OC at Texas Tech and Kentucky, but against Nebraska he put on a clinic of how David should scheme against a Goliath.