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Toledo has found a star to play key position

09/15/2016, 12:16am EDT
By By BRIAN BUCKEY BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Sophomore Teachey's versatility allows him to play at hybrid position


Josh Teachey brings down a Kent State ball carrier last season. The sophomore is a key part of Toledo's defense at the star position. BLADE

For University of Toledo sophomore safety Josh Teachey, success on the football field has come sooner than expected.

After playing in nine games in his true freshman season, the 5-foot-11, 185 pounder from Maryland, is excelling in his new role playing the star position in UT’s 4-2-5 defense.

“Coming into college I didn’t really expect to play that early,” Teachey said. “My plan was to redshirt, but obviously my coaches had other plans for me. They prepared me well and put me in this situation and I just decided to go for it.”

The star position is a hybrid safety that mixes pass coverage with helping out in the run game. Teachey’s versatility is a key quality to have in his current role on the defense.

“One play I will be checking one of the fastest guys on the field and the next play I’ll be checking the biggest guy, then the next play I could be in the box trying to take on a guard,” Teachey said. “So you get your variations of what you need to do.”

First-year defensive coordinator Brian George said that the coaching staff identified in the offseason that Teachey could be someone who could fit at the star position.

“We knew that he had played that position in a couple of games last season when some injuries occurred and thought he had done a nice job, especially for a freshman,” George said. “He was one of the first names that was thrown around as a guy that we thought could be a good player at that position. Through the spring he continued to improve and improve and really worked at getting better everyday. I think he gained a lot of confidence coming out of the spring and that just kind of propelled him into this fall.”

Teachey impressed in his limited role as a freshman, recording 14 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and seven pass breakups. In two games this season, Teachey has six tackles, a sack, and two tackles for loss.

“Josh has a unique skill set, which I think coming in was what we were kind of looking for in terms of that position to begin with,” George said. “He’s a guy that is a bigger body, has some weight to him, a guy that’s able to play against the run in the box sometimes. He’s a guy you can bring on pressures, but also has a skill set where he is able to cover guys man-to-man and does a pretty good job of that.”

George said Teachey and backup Marc Remy pushed each other in the offseason and continue to do so in practices. Remy, a senior, is a converted running back.

“The thing that I think has helped at that position, is that Josh has done a nice job, but there is a lot of competition at that position as well,” George said. “Marc Remy moved over from offense and is also playing that position. The competition pushed both of those guys to get better, because they knew if they had a bad day, somebody else was going to take their position.”

Teachey said he has to take on the role of helping the defense get set on each play.

“Playing star, it’s kind of getting the defense set,” Teachey said. “It’s pretty demanding just getting the defense lined up and just knowing where to be at the right time and knowing all the checks. It’s a fun position. I really enjoy it.”

George said Teachey’s talent has helped him excel so far at a demanding position.

“It’s a guy that at times you have to be able to bring on blitzes,” George said. “It’s a guy that has to be able to play in the box at times and be able to fit against a lot of the runs, but also a guy that you can trust that can cover a slot receiver in man-to-man. That’s a unique skill set in college football today and it’s a special kind of guy that can do both of those things.”

Contact Brian Buckey at: bbuckey@theblade.com or 419-724-6110.

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Tag(s): College  Toledo