ULM coach Rich Rodriguez praises Troy's Carlton Martial: 'They have the best linebacker'

Erik Hall
Montgomery Advertiser

The play of Troy University linebacker Carlton Martial definitely caught the attention of Louisiana-Monroe offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez this week ahead of the teams' facing each other Saturday. 

Rodriguez praised Martial on Thursday during his podcast "Hard Edge Football with Rich Rod." 

He was being interviewed by his daughter, Raquel Rodriguez, on the podcast. She asked him for his concerns about facing Troy. 

"Very athletic defensively upfront," Rich Rodriguez said. 

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Washington State in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Then he started talking about Martial. 

"They have the best linebacker," Rich Rodriguez said of Martial. "A guy that's 5-9, I think they said 220 pounds. He's just a flat-out ballplayer. I'm talking about — I'm as impressed with him as any linebacker I've seen in years." 

Through three games, Martial leads the Troy football team with 20 total tackles, and he's also got one sack and one interception. 

Martial earned All-Sun Belt first-team honors in 2019 and 2020. He was named a 2018 Freshman All-American by USA Today and the Football Writers Association of America

"We've got a lot of work to do," Rich Rodriguez said. "We're going to have to really get better and execute to give ourselves a chance. It's going to be a big game for us. It's the opening conference game. Troy, traditionally, has been one of the best teams in the Sun Belt, I believe. So we'll see what happens."

Troy linebacker Carlton Martial (2) celebrates a third-down stop against Coastal Carolina during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, in Troy, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Saturday's ULM vs. Troy football game is scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m. CT in Monroe, Louisiana. 

ULM comes into the matchup 1-1 overall. Most recently, ULM beat Jackson State 12-7 on Sept. 18. 

The Troy University Trojans enter the contest 2-1 overall. On Sept. 18, Troy beat Southern Miss 21-9. 

Here's more ULM, Troy football news:

Terry Bowden is the Louisiana-Monroe football head coach. Chip Lindsey is the Troy University football head coach. 

Erik Hall is the lead digital producer for sports with the USA Today Network. You can find him on Twitter @HallErik