By David Fong
TROY — There’s an old adage in the coaching fraternity when it comes to the wing-t offense: If you’ve seen one wing-t offense … then you’ve seen one wing-t offense.
So although the Troy football team did play a wing-t team last week in Miamisburg, Troy coach Matt Burgbacher is expecting something different this week when his team faces off against Tippecanoe, which also runs the wing-t offense.
“It’s definitely a different type of wing-t than we saw last week against Miamisburg,” Burgbacher said. “Miamisburg was more of power team — they line up behind those two Division I offensive lineman and try to pound the ball at you. With Tippecanoe, everything is based off the jet sweep. Coach (Joel) Derge is one of the better jet sweep coaches in the area.
“They want to beat you to the outside with their speed, but then they get teams so concerned about getting to the outside, then they’ll hit you with the (Cole) Barhorst kid right up the middle. He’s a great running back.”
The Red Devils are averaging 347.6 yards in total offense per game, seventh out of 20 teams in the Greater Western Ohio Conference. Most of those yards come on the ground, as they are averaging 281.0 rushing yards per game, third-best in the entire GWOC.
Leading the ground attack is junior Cole Barhorst, who has 67 carries for 576 yards and seven touchdowns this season. Senior Nyles Anderson has 51 carries for 354 yards and three touchdowns, while senior Quenten Williams has 43 carries for 274 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Aaron Hughes doesn’t throw much — he’s attempted just 30 passes in five games — but is effective when he does throw the ball, having completed 17 of 30 passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns. He’s also a threat to run the ball, Burgbacher said.
“They want to run the ball, but they definitely throw the ball enough to keep you honest,” Burgbacher said. “Hughes does a nice job running their offense. He can throw the ball, but he’s also a threat to run the ball. You really have to be aware of all four guys in the backfield at all times — the three running backs and the quarterback.
“They are going to try to out-formation you. They’ll do a lot of shifts. They’ll line up all over the place. They are the type of team that will really give you a lot of things you have to prepare for.”
Troy’s defense, meanwhile, has improved by leaps and bounds over last season. The Trojans are giving up 270.2 yards per game (eighth in the GWOC) and 15.4 points per game (seventh in the GWOC). Last season, Troy gave up 442.3 yards per game (14th out of 18 teams in the GWOC) and 32.3 points per game (14th in the GWOC).
Tippecanoe coach Joel Derge said he’s impressed with Troy’s defense, although certainly not surprised to see it’s doing well under defensive coordinator Charlie Burgbacher, who hired Derge at Tippecanoe in 2013.
“It’s a defense run by Charlie Burgbacher,” Derge said. “They play with a ton of intensity. They play to stop the run. It’s an aggressive defense. They are going to do what he wants them to do and they are doing to do it well.”
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong