Troy’s dual-quarterback system nothing new for WKU

WKU’s Andrew Jackson celebrates after a defensive stop during their game against Navy at Western Kentucky University on Saturday, September 28, 2013.

Lucas Aulbach

Troy has employed a two-quarterback passing attack through the first half of the 2013 season, but the Toppers should be ready to face the unique Trojan system when they take the field on Saturday.

Troy has a one of the top pocket passers in the Sun Belt Conference in senior quarterback Corey Robinson. The Paducah native has thrown for 1,889 yards and 15 touchdowns this season — both marks lead the Sun Belt.

Junior quarterback Deon Anthony, meanwhile, is expected to see time under center as well. Anthony has thrown for 313 yards and three touchdowns this year — far less than Robinson — but has picked up another 345 yards and two scores on the ground. He averages 5.7 yards per carry.

“Obviously one chucks it really well and the other one runs it really well,” defensive coordinator Nick Holt said to sum it up after Wednesday’s practice. “We’re preparing for both.”

The dual-quarterback system has worked well for the Trojans lately. In their most recent game, a 35-28 win over Georgia State on Oct. 12, Robinson threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns along with a pair of interceptions while Anthony completed 4-of-6 passes for 35 yards and picked up another 58 on the ground.

Saturday won’t be the first time WKU has faced teams that use several quarterbacks, though — Kentucky used pocket-passer Maxwell Smith and runner Jalen Whitlow in the season-opener, and the Toppers faced two quarterbacks in games against Navy, Morgan State, and South Alabama as well. WKU is 3-1 in those games, with the sole loss coming to the Jaguars in September.

The game against Kentucky might be the best template from the season for the Toppers to base their game plan on. Whitlow got the start and finished 10-of-15 for 78 passing yards — most of which came late in the game — and 75 rushing yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Smith, meanwhile, threw for 125 yards and a touchdown on 8-of-13 passing. WKU won the game 35-26.

Senior linebacker Chuck Franks said the fact that Robinson and Anthony are so different should help the Toppers read the offense when one quarterback comes on the field.

“Most of the times when teams come out with two quarterbacks, one is usually a throwing guy, the other is a zone-read guy, so it’s pretty much predictable to tell what they’re going to do when those guys get in the game,” Franks said. “We know when one kid gets in he’s going to throw the ball as opposed to the other kid, he’s going to run the ball.”

The possibility of facing two quarterbacks has brought about some changes in practice, though.

Holt said the Toppers have used a scout team in practice this week to mimic the unique offense Troy puts on the field and spent a lot of time preparing for each Trojan quarterback.

“You have some group periods and team periods where, ‘Hey, we’re going to work on this part of their offense and next period we’re going to work on this part of their offense, this personnel grouping,’ so it’s part of our game plan and it’s very involved” Holt said. “It takes a long time and we put long hours getting this stuff ready and carded up.”