#98 Troy Football 2013 Preview

Troy Trojans

Overall Rank: #98
#4 Sun Belt
Troy Football 2013 Preview
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Coach Larry Blakeney has been at Troy for 22 years and this is the first time he is coming off of back-to-back losing seasons. After finishing 3-9 in 2011 and 5-7 in 2012, the expectations have diminished for the Trojans. However, the team was doing a bit of rebuilding during those years and that should begin to pay off. But it is not like this team is full of experienced upperclassmen who have been paying their dues over the last two years either.

2012 Record: (5-7, 3-5)
2012 Bowl: None
Coach: Larry Blakeney (168-98-1 at Troy, 168-98-1 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kenny Edenfield
Defensive Coordinator: Jevius Terry

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Deon Anthony, QB, 390 yards
Passing: Corey Robinson, QB, 3,121 yards
Receiving: Eric Thomas, WR, 667 yards
Tackles: Chris Pickett, S, 61
Sacks: Tyler Roberts, LB, 2.0, Marty Stadom, DE, 2.0
Interceptions: None

Other Key Returnees: CB Chris Davis, S Camren Hudson, OT Terrence Jones, LB Dimitri Miles, K Will Scott, DT Shermane TeArt, LB Mark Wilson, WR Chandler Worthy

Key Losses: RB Justin Albert, LB Brannon Bryan, LB Danorris Davis, DE Tony Davis, OT Jarred Fleming, DT Kyle Lucas, WR Chip Reeves, RB Shawn Southward, S Brynden Trawick, C Kyle Wilborn, CB Bryan Willis, G Cody Woodiel

The Trojans ranked first in the Sun Belt and eighth in the nation in passing offense in 2012 and quarterback Corey Robinson is back to do it again. The 6-2 senior recorded 3,121 passing yards for a dozen touchdowns. Robinson’s touchdown total was limited slightly due to Deon Anthony. Anthony passed for 856 yards and nine scores, while rushing for 390 yards and eight more touchdowns. Coach Blakeney would like to get both Robinson and Anthony on the field as much as possible this year. Those two are the best playmakers the Trojans have so it would be a bit of a surprise if either one spends a significant amount of time on the bench. Anthony is the player who will move around the field. When he is not under center, the defense will have to look for him next to Robinson in the backfield or spread out wide. That does add a tough dynamic to defend for the Troy offense and really opens up the playbook for coordinator Kenny Edenfield. Robinson and Anthony will have to find some new favorite targets. This is a system that spreads the ball around quite a bit; six players caught at least 30 passes a year ago, so those new pass catching threats will emerge. Eric Thomas, who caught 55 passes for 667 yards and seven touchdowns, is the most experienced option and Chandler Worthy is poised for another solid season.

Even with plenty of talent at quarterback and wide receiver, the Troy offense may not be nearly as prolific this time around. Running back Shawn Southward is gone after rushing for 1,012 yards and ten scores during his senior season. So are D.J. Taylor and Justin Albert, who combined to rush for 590 yards as Southward’s backups. That leaves very little experience. Daron White, Brandon Burks and Khary Franklin are all competing for snaps, along with Anthony. Breaking in a new running back would not be that big of a deal on a team that can make up for it in the air, but the offensive line is almost completely decimated. Terrence Jones is the only returning starting linemen. There is some experience out there, most notably Chris Hawkins and Jimmie Arnold, both who were limited by injuries in 2012, but the offense is going to struggle if the line cannot give Robinson and Anthony time to make plays.

The Bottom Line:
If it takes time for the offense to come around, the Trojans will have to rely more on their defense. And that may be a problem with seven starters gone from a unit that ranked 96th in the nation in total defense a season ago. And the defense lost most of their playmakers. The front four will have to hope that hybrid linebacker Tyler Roberts can successfully make the transition to defensive end and get consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback. Linebackers Kanorris Davis and Brannon Bryan, who combined for 160 tackles during their senior seasons, are gone and the pressure will be on Dimitri Miles and Mark Wilson to fill those big shoes. The secondary is without Brynden Trawick and a handful of other key contributors. Safeties Chris Pickett and Camren Hudson are a solid duo to build around and Chris Davis has plenty of potential at corner. Amazingly this team intercepted just six passes in 2012 and nobody on the roster picked off a pass in 2012. Without any proven pass rushers or playmakers in the secondary, Troy may have a very tough time getting the ball back to their offense.

Projected Bowl: None

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 167.25 (56th in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 331.50 (8, 1)
Total Offense: 498.75 (11, 1)
Scoring Offense: 30.58 (52, 4)
Rushing Defense: 185.17 (82, 7)
Pass Defense: 258.42 (94, 6)
Total Defense: 443.58 (96, 9)
Scoring Defense: 30.50 (82, 7)
Turnover Margin: -0.58 (96, 9)
Sacks: 1.08 (113, 8)
Sacks Allowed: 1.25 (25, 5)


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