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Kansas State Football: Guide to the Troy Offense

Drew checks out what Troy likes to do on offense.

NCAA Football: Troy at Coastal Carolina David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Base Offense


Personnel Packages

11 (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WRS) or 12 (1 RB, 2 TEs, 2 WRS)


Pistol Formation - Running back lined up behind the QB in the shotgun.


Green Circle - Quarterback

#18 - Gunnar Watson - Sr. - 6’3”, 210

Previous Game vs SFA: 14/22 - 198 Yards - 4 Touchdowns - 1 Int - Rating 190.1

Watson has seen it all in his 6 seasons at Troy. He was the starting quarterback when Chip Lindsey got canned. He is also the starting quarterback that helped Troy go 12-2 last year under current head coach Jon Sumrall. He’s more of a “game manager” than the focal point of the offense, but oddly enough, is also prone to turnovers. Last season he threw 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Not great for a quarterback supported by a stellar run game.

He has average arm talent and didn’t show the ability to complete anything deep against Stephen F Austin in the opener. He’s at his best when he can get the ball out early and let his skill position guys do the work for him. He’s also a solid ball handler, making one of his best throws of the night on an RPO to and outside receiver that I needed to rewind twice to figure out how he managed to pull the ball out once the running back appeared to be well past the point of no return.

I wouldn’t consider him a mobile quarterback, but he’s slick in the pocket and managed to pinball out of a few sacks last Saturday. K-State will need to make sure to finish the job when they have him in their grasp.

Despite the occasional errant throw, Watson brings a level of calm confidence to the field. He doesn’t rattle easily, and won’t be intimidated playing in a hostile environment.

Blue Circle - Running Back

#28 - Kimani Vidal - Jr. - 5’8”, 215

Previous Game: 25 Carries - 248 Yards - 0 TDs - Long of 59 - 2 Receptions - 54 Yards

This dude is a baller. He’s built like a bowling balling, and uses his strength to shrug off tackles. He lacks elite top end speed, but is quick in the hole and has an explosive jump cut he uses to work through traffic. He’s a North-South back that likes to get downhill as quickly as possible. Troy utilizes a zone blocking scheme that allows him to make one cut and go. He’s a competent receiver out of the backfield, and if gets a running start at a corner, he’s going to try and punish him. He led the Trojans in rushing and receiving yards in their opener.

SFA clearly didn’t have much success in slowing him down, but what little success they did have in stopping him, came when they got him before his first cut. I recommend the same for Kansas State. Don’t let Vidal build momentum, you need to get him before he’s sprinting through the hole and looking for a linebacker to hit with his dead leg move.

Vidal is the key to the game for Troy. Gunnar Watson isn’t going to beat K-State with his arm. The only way forward is Vidal putting up a monster day on the ground, allowing Watson to stay within the offense and pick up occasional third and short to mediums through the air.

Skill Positions

Yellow Circle - H-Back/Fullback

#2 - Deyunkrea Lewis - Jr. - 6’3”, 240

Previous Game: No Stats

Troy utilizes Lewis as an H-Back in their 12 personnel grouping. He’s mainly in to block, but he’s a capable receiver when called upon Last season he pulled down 5 receptions for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns. That’s an average of almost 25 yards a catch. In 2021 he pulled down 11 receptions for 141 yards and 3 touchdowns, for a healthy 12.8 yard average. I haven’t gone back and looked, but my guess is he sneaks out of the backfield after faking a block and ends up wide open. K-State needs to maintain their discipline and not just assume he’s going to block on every play.

Light Blue Circle - Tight End

#89 - Clayton Ollendieck - Sr. - 6’4”, 240

Previous Game: No Stats

Like Lewis, Clayton is primarily utilized as a blocker. This is a power run team that isn’t afraid to give their O-line extra help in blowing holes in the defense. Unlike Lewis, he’s mostly a short yardage, break in case of emergency, receiver. In 2022 he managed 6 receptions for 45 yards. Consider him an eligible offense tackle that occasionally wanders down field and catches the ball.

Purple Circle - Field Receiver

#11 - Deshon Stoudemire - Sr. - 6’1’, 186

Previous Game: No Stats

Stoudemire was the second leading receiver on the team last season, grabbing 41 passes for 507 yards and 2 touchdowns. He didn’t have a catch in the opener, mainly because while Troy only completed 14 passes, 9 different players had a catch. Watson spreads the wealth, and if you’re not open early, you’re probably not going to get the ball. K-State’s secondary shouldn’t be tested much, but it’s one of those games where Troy is going to try and pound the ball and hope to make a few big plays down the field when the defense starts to creep up. Discipline is the key word for the K-State corners. They may spend the entire day on the outside covering a guy that never sees a pass thrown his way. Or they may spend the entire day on the outside covering a guy that gets one pass thrown his way for a touchdown.

Red Circle - Slot Receiver

#1 - Jabre Barber - Jr. - 5’10”, 174

Previous Game: 2 Receptions - 25 Yards - 1 TD

Troy’s version of Phillip Brooks, Barber is a quick, small receiver who works out of the slot. The ESPN broadcast highlighted him as a difference maker at receiver, and I suppose he was with his touchdown catch. His 2022 season was cut short due to injuries, but he have 25 receptions for 351 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Watson likes to get the ball out fast, and slot receivers tend to do well in that sort of system. Look for him to work option routes and shallow crosses to give his quarterback an early dump off option to help negate K-State’s pass rush.

Other Options

When Troy gets close to the goal line, they like to bring in their bigger receivers. While Watson didn’t throw for many yards, he managed 4 touchdown passes last week.

Green Circle - H-Back / Tight End

#4 - Ethan Connor - 6’4”, 230 - Jr.

Previous Game: 4 Receptions - 51 Yards - 2 TDs

The Trojans leading receiver against SFA, in terms of receptions and touchdowns despite being the 3rd tight end on their depth chart. When Troy made it inside the 20, and running room tightened up, Watson looked for Connor. They utilize him similar to how K-State utilizes Ben Sinnot. They stick him at H-Back, move him around the formation, and hope he draws a linebacker in coverage. K-State needs avoid SFA’s fate, and not let Connor get lost in the red zone, because Watson will find him.

Red Circle - Boundary Receiver

#4 - Marcus Rogers - Sr. - 6’3”, 211

Previous Game: No Stats

When Troy goes to their 11 personnel, Rogers comes in as their big boundary receiver. He’s another guy that doesn’t catch many, but when he catches one, it tends to go a long way. In 2022 he had 14 catches for 211 yards, averaging 15 yards a reception. Like pretty much any other Troy receiver, it’s the element of surprise that gets you. The ‘Cats can’t get bored on the outside and turn someone like Rogers loose for a big play.


This is the Vidal show. If he gets going, the rest of the Troy offense works. If he doesn’t get going, the Troy offense doesn’t work. If K-State keeps him under 100 yards, they win. If they keep him under 150, I put their chances of winning around 90%. If they let him run wild like SFA did, it gets closer to 50%.

The only thing that worries me about their passing game is K-State cutting someone loose because they get bored of standing around on the outside and get too nosy in the run game. Discipline will be the name of the game on Saturday. Watson isn’t a great quarterback, but he makes plays when they’re available. It would behoove the secondary to not make plays available.

I don’t think the ‘Cats defense lets Vidal run wild but he’ll be a stern test for a defense that struggled with tackling towards the end of last season. When I look at the K-State depth chart, it screams “run up the middle and make the undersized defense (with the exception of their Samoan grizzly bear Uso Seumalo at nose of course) prove they can hold up. That’s exactly what Troy likes to do. If they can contain Troy’s run it a great sign for the rest of the season.