Troup’s linemen getting it done

Published 10:50 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – The Troup Tigers boast one of the most explosive offenses in the state.

With quarterback Montez Crowe leading the way, the Tigers average close to 40 points per game.

While Troup is blessed to have some outstanding skill players, including wide receivers Jamari Thrash and Kobe Hudson who have combined for 25 touchdown catches, a lot of the offense’s success can be attributed to the work done by the men up front.

Troup’s offensive linemen have helped give Crowe the time he needs to throw for nearly 350 yards per game, while also opening up holes for Tyree Carlisle and the other running backs.

The Troup offensive linemen don’t get their names called out by the public-address announcer on game nights, but their job is a critical one, and they do it well.

“It’s a bunch of hard-working kids,” said Phillip Manning, Troup’s offensive-line coach. “At the end of the day, what they do on the field makes you look good. They do a great job. They come in here and work every day and try to get better at the little things. As long as you’re getting better every day, that’s all I can ask from you.”

The veteran of the group is Seth Adams, who is in his second season as the starting center.

Adams played defense as a sophomore, and he was asked to take over the center position a year ago, and he has thrived in that role.

At 180 pounds, Adams is oftentimes facing someone considerably larger than he is, but that hasn’t been a problem.

“You’ve got to learn how to be faster and quicker than somebody,” Adams said. “As long as you have that down, there’s nobody that can stop you except yourself.”

While Adams is a superb center, he realizes the offensive line succeeds only if everyone is doing their job well.

If there’s one crack in the wall, the whole structure comes tumbling down.

“If you don’t trust the man that’s next to you, you won’t be able to get a play off,” Adams said. “You’ve got to have that bond to know that the guy next to you is going to execute like everybody else.”

Adams said that bond has helped the offensive line become a formidable group.

“We’ve come a long way since last year, and we’ve grown a lot together,” Adams said. “We trust each other more than we did last year.”

One of the new-comers to the offensive line this season is junior Hunter Bass, who was a defensive player a year ago.

While forming a bond is important anywhere on the field, Bass said it’s particularly critical on the offensive line.

“It’s very important,” Bass said. “We have to have each other’s backs on every play. We have to know who is doing what. We have to trust that they’re doing the right thing.”

Jay Brodie Messer, another member of the offensive line, said one of the great joys of playing that position is the camaraderie he has built with the other men on the line.

“We don’t get a lot of attention, but we hang out together,” Messer said. “It’s almost like a team inside the team. We’ve got each other. It’s fun.”

Like Harry, junior Gabe Hubbard enjoys the kinship he has with his mates on the offensive line.

“I just enjoy that it’s a family,” Hubbard said. “Everybody knows each other. Everybody is cool with each other.”

The youngest member of the offensive line is sophomore Michael Irvin, who began the season on defense.

As the season went along, a need arose on the offensive line, and Irvin was asked to make the transition.

“I had to learn all the plays, and I had to learn it pretty quick,” Irving said. “I was just learning the little stuff, the stance and all that.”

Troup runs what Manning calls a “real college-based offense,” and that means the linemen have to prepared to do a lot of different things.

“They have to be good at all of it,” Manning said. “And they bring a lot of effort, and good technique.”

Junior Colby Harry said “it’s a challenge” being an offensive lineman at Troup.

“We’ve got to do a lot of pulling,” he said. “It’s really complex.”

It’s an offensive line that has undergone significant changes as the season has gone along, but as Troup prepares for its state-playoff opener, there is no doubt it is a position of strength.

“Where they came from, it’s a vast improvement,” Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said. “They’re doing a great job. Philip Manning is doing a great job. They work hard, they’re very intelligent. It’s just a really good group.”