Troy's 2-Steal five-man pressure
The Trojans had a historic year on the back of their stellar defense. Against South Alabama, Troy illustrated a popular coverage rotation behind their Fire Zone path: 2-Steal.
Troy had a tremendous season in 2022, winning the Sun Belt over Coastal Carolina and the Cure Bowl over a challenging UTSA team. One of the main differences between ’21 and ’22 was the overall play of the defense. Under Defensive Coordinator Shiel Woods (now Tulane’s DC), the Trojans went from 86th in DFEI to 27th (BCF Toys). The massive jump in efficiency allowed Troy to accumulate 12 wins, enough to tie a school record.
Woods, who hailed from Army before coming to Troy, reduced the blitz-centric tendencies of the prior coordinator (Brandon Hall, Oklahoma). I wrote about the Trojans’ propensity to blitz last year and how they had one of the top Blitz Rates (BR) in college football. Woods system hails from the Nate Woody schematic tree. The system became popular when Woody was the DC at Appalachian State.
The scheme started as a movement-based system, or what you would call reductions. Single-gap movements from a 404 front allowed the Mountaineers to keep their slighter D-linemen aggressive to attack offenses. As the Tite Front and other iterations became more widespread, a meshing of the two philosophies became popular.
Woods’ base system at Troy was also from a Tite Front alignment with Cover 3 behind it. According to PFF, the Trojans ran Cover 3 on 41.6% of their snaps. Though not as blitz-heavy as the previous year, the Trojans used pressure to disrupt offenses. This wasn’t a “sit-and-get” defense.
Last year, the Sun Belt was loaded. Five teams, including Troy, won at least eight games. South Alabama, whose loss to Troy allowed the Trojans to play Coastal in the championship game, was the only other team to win 10+. The game featuring the Jaguars and Trojans was a look at two of the best defenses in the Group of Five (G5).
Related Contetn: The Tite Front
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