Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Troy Trojans 2010 Review

2010 Record: 8-5 (6-2), Tied 1st Sun Belt
2010 Bowl Game: New Orleans Bowl, Defeated Ohio 48-21
2010 Schedule/Results: Bowling Green, W 30-27, @ Oklahoma State, L 41-38, @ UAB, L 34-33, Arkansas State, W 35-28, @ Middle Tennessee, W 42-13, UL-Lafayette, W 31-24, @ UL-Monroe, L 28-14, @ North Texas, W 41-35, FIU, L 52-35, @ South Carolina, L 69-24, Western Kentucky, W 28-14, @ Florida Atlantic, W 44-7, Ohio, W 48-21


      I find myself pulling for Troy every season. There is no particular reason for that, but I just do. I love the program, and I love that they get after it on offense every single season and do things to make people crazy when trying to find ways to defend against the, I love the fearless nature of this program. All that being said, there were two major issues that I had in 2010 with this football team. They lacked a power move victory, which was there for the taking at Oklahoma State, and the defense was horrible, forcing the offense to win some very wild shootout games. In the end, that defensive lapse caused the Trojans to lose out on an undisputed league titiel, and forced them to share it with FIU after the Trojans gave up 52 to the Panthers.
      The good news is that this offense, once again, did not fail to inspire. The Trojans averaged 441 yards of offense per game, which is amazing in that Troy was working through the season with a freshman QB. That freshman, Corey Robinson, had some amazing first year moments. Robinson passed for 3707 yards in his first season, one of the all-time great performances for a freshman in NCAA history. He passed for over 285 yards per game, and tossed 28 TDs in 13 games. His only issue is that he has to cut down on the turnovers, as he tossed 15 picks on the year. As much as Troy likes to toss the ball downfield, that's alot for me to ask. If Robinson can work it out, and bring it even more next season, we may be looking at a great QB in the making.
     With as much as the Trojans pass the football, you really don't think about the run game very much. Call it Hawaii syndrome, if you will. This season actually saw a two back system work credibly well for Troy, and they rushed for over 151 yards per game as a team. Shawn Southward and DuJuan Harris carried the load fairly evenly for Troy in 2010, and they did some nice complimentary things in the offense. Southward put together a line of 116-627-7, while Harris loaded up on 97-603-6. Harris had the better YPC average at over 6 yards per carry on the year. Harris moves on in 2011, but if Troy sticks with a two back system, Chris Anderson looks like the guy to step up in a power back role.
     Jerrel Jernigan is a great receiver in tight spaces. He did not average over 10 yards per catch, but he did manage a very nice season of 81-803-6. He has significant value as a return man, averaging 25.2 yards on kick returns, and 13.3 yards per return on punts. He returned one of each for TDs. The bad news is that he moves on, leaving a huge void in both the receiving game and the return game. The really bad news? The top3 receivers are  gone. Jason Bruce (47-613-5) and Tebiarus Gill (52-578-6) join Jernigan in heading out the door.That leaves Chip Reeves, Jamel Johnson, and Brett Moncrief to step up in their places in 2011.
     Let's look at the defense. It was a mess in 2010. The Trojans gave up 28 points or more 7 times in 2010, and gave up 418.3 yards of offense per game. If the Trojans want to improve and stay on pace with FIU, they need to shore things up on D now. Xavier Lamb was the team leader in tackles with 91, but did not come close to averaging double figures per game, and Daniel Sheffield, the number 2 tackler, only avergaed 6 tackles per game.
     The D line had some performers in 2010, and in a big way. Jonathon Massaquoi crushed his way into oppsoing backfields to the tune of 20.5 TFLs on the season, and he was only a sophomore. He was joined as a frequent visitor to the backfield by Mario Addison, who locked down 15.5 TFLs on the season. It's also a good/bad news thing here. Addison moves on leaving Massaquoi as the lone big time performer on the line. These two guys also both registered double figures in sacks, and were the only Trojans to have done so. Massaquoi rolled up 12.5 sacks, while Addison picked up 10.5.
     The secondary was a bit of an open door policy kind of unit. Open door as in pass all you want. Bombs away. The secondary gave up 247 yards passing per game, a number not to be proud of, and a bane of their failures as a unit in 2010. Chris Pickett did produce as a freshman, as he knocked away 8 passes on the season. Jimmie Anderson and KeJuan Phillips each knocked away 6 passes. Anderson and LaDarrius Madden tied for the team pick lead with 3 each. The good news is that the secondary is young, and should improve greatly in 2011.
     Michael Taylor was not the best PK in America, but he was far from the worst. He connected on 17 of 22 FGs on the season, giving him a solid number of made kicks to throw into the points pool. Will Coggans was solid at Punter as well, hitting his kicks for an average of just over 42 yards per game.


The Trojans may not have been as dominant in the Sun Belt as they are accustomed to being, but they still managed to tie for the league title and go bowling once again. This is one of the premier programs in the Sun Belt, and I believe that they could compete in Conference USA despite their one point loss to UAB in 2010. The Trojans should be feared in 2011, with young Corey Robinson pulling the trigger at QB, and with a young but improving defense, the Trojans will be fighting another war with the likes of FIU.

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