Sunday, August 29, 2010
Sun Belt 2010-Troy Trojans
2009 Record: 9-4 (8-0)
Head Coach: Larry Blakeney (20th season, 153-77-1)
Offensive Coordinator: Kenny Edenfield (1st season)
Defensive Coordinator: Jeremy Powell (4th season)
2009 Bowl: GMAC Bowl, lost to Central Michigan 44-41 (2 OT)
Offense: Two players will battle for the QB job after Troy lost one of the most prolific players in the nation last season in Levi Brown. Jamie Hampton returns from a redshirt season and will battle freshman Corey Robinson. Both are dual threat and both fit the mold of what Troy needs in its QB. Shawn Southward was the Sun Belt freshman of the year, and he will rotate with DuJuan Harris, who finished second on the team in all purpose yardage last season. Harris ran for 10 TDs in 2009. Jerrel Jernigan was the team leader in all purpose yardage with 2264 yards in 2009, and he will lead the WR corps to start the season. Tebiarus Gill, Jason Bruce, and Chip Reeves should be the other receivers in the spread offense that uses no TE. 3 starters return on the line, but both guards must be replaced in fall camp.
Defense: There are problems here, as Troy basically lost their main playmakers from a year ago. Only LB Daniel Sheffield returns in the front 7. DE Jonathon Massaquoi is expected to step forward at one DE spot. He is talented, but has not apparently put as much effort in as he is capable of if you read into what the coaches are saying. He was a force in the spring game, but has very little real experience. As many as 6 other players are vying for the final 3 spots on the line. The LB jobs are wide open, with 4 players battling for 2 spots. Both CBs return in Barry Valcin and Bryan Willis, but they must improve, as only 2 teams were worse against the pass than Troy was in 2009. Both safeties will be new this season.
Special Teams: Michael Taylor hit 11 of 14 FGs last season, and will be back. He may be needed much more this year than last. Will Goggans returns as the punter.
Wins: 9/4 Bowling Green, 9/18 @ UAB, 10/16 Louisiana-Lafayette, 10/30 Louisiana-Monroe, 11/6 @ North Texas, 11/27 Western Kentucky
Toss Up Games: 9/25 Arkansas State, 11/13 Florida International, 12/4 @ Florida Atlantic
Losses: 9/11 @ Oklahoma State, 10/5 @ Middle Tennessee, 11/20 @ South Carolina
The schedule has some ups and some downs. I think that when the games begin, you may get a very good look at how important Levi Brown was to this team in 2009. If they still had him, I would have at the very least shifted the loss games to the toss box. If Dwight Dasher is still out when Troy meets MTSU, that will happen anyway, as it evens the field just a bit. If I had to pick an upset game out of this bunch, it would be for Troy to knock off Oklahoma State in Stillwater.
Outlook: Let's face it. The D was hardly outstanding last season when all of those bodies were in place, so to lose as many starters as the Trojans have is not as big of a deal. But what you lose is experience. The D gave up as many as 27 points 7 times, and Troy still won 9 games, including all 8 in Sun Belt play. Troy, even without a D and a new QB, can still compete for the Sun Belt title, but I am not sold that they can win it.