#94 Troy Football Preview

Troy Trojans

Overall Rank: #94
#2 Sun Belt

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2010 Record: (8-5, 6-2)
2010 Bowl: New Orleans Bowl vs. Ohio (W 48-21)
Coach: Larry Blakeney (69-53 at Troy, 69-53 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kenny Edenfield
Defensive Coordinator: Jeremy Rowell

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Shawn Southward, RB, 623 yards
Passing: Corey Robinson, QB, 3,726 yards
Receiving: Brett Moncrief, WR, 214 yards
Tackles: Xavier Lamb, LB, 91
Sacks: Jonathan Massaquoi, DE, 13.5
Interceptions: Jimmie Anderson, CB, 3; LaDarrius Madden, S, 3

Other Key Returnees: RB Chris Anderson, OT James Brown, WR Brett Moncrief, G Kyle Wilborn

Key Losses: DE Mario Addison, WR Jason Bruce, C Tyler Clark, WR Tebiarus Gill, LB Donnell Golden, RB DuJuan Harris, WR Jerrel Jernigan, WR Jamel Johnson, WR Chip Reeves, S Willard Ross, LB Daniel Sheffield

Since 2004 Troy has only missed going to a bowl game twice. For three straight years they have gone to a bowl game and that streak should not come to an end this year. The defense was not outstanding last year, but the Trojans do boast the best defensive player in the league in Jonathan Massaquoi. The defensive end tallied 13.5 sacks and totaled an impressive 76 tackles. With a very experienced line bookended by Massaquoi and John Robles and Sidell Corley and Emmanuel Dudley in the middle, the defense is in good hands.

The rest of the defense has a few holes to fill, but linebacker Xavier Lamb anchors a promising group of linebackers. Lamb led the squad with 91 tackles and Kanorris Davis and Brannon Bryan are capable players on the outside. The secondary is full of options for Coach Larry Blakeney. David Whitmore and Jimmie Anderson and are quality corners and LaDarrius Madden, Brynden Trawick, Barry Valcin and Cam Hudson will battle for playing time at the safety spots. As good as the defense may be this year, the headlines will go to quarterback Corey Robinson. As a freshman he threw for 3,726 yards and 28 touchdowns. The future looks very promising with Robinson under center for three more years. With a quality running game to help him out, Robinson should be in for a big sophomore season. Shawn Southward is Troy’s main rushing threat after tallying 603 yards and seven scores as a sophomore. Southward is the speed back, but players like Chris Anderson, transfer Montrell Conner and bruiser D.J. Taylor will get their fair share of touches as well.

The problem for the offense is on the line and at the receiver positions. The line has quite a bit of rebuilding to do. Guard Kyle Wilborn and tackle James Robinson are All-Conference caliber players, but there is not much experience around them. Players like redshirt freshman tackle Terrence Jones and junior college transfer DeMarkus Underwood may be asked to play a big role on this team and they better be up for the challenge. Jerrel Jernigan had a terrific career with the Trojans and his absence will change the dynamic of the offense and not just on offense. Jernigan was a superb returner as well and returned both a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns during his senior season. The receiving corps may be able to survive without Jernigan, but they also lose Jason Bruce and Tebiarus Gill, the team’s second and third leading receivers. Then things got worse when Chip Reeves and Jamel Johnson were deemed academically ineligible. That is going to put a lot of pressure on Brett Moncrief and whole slew of youngsters to pick up the slack.

The Bottom Line:
Coach Blakeney has this team built for long term success and that is not going to end this year. On paper the offense may take a step back unless Robinson develops into a more consistent passer. He did connect on nearly 64 percent of his passes, but he needs to cut back on the interceptions and avoid a sophomore slump. If the offensive line needs too much time to adjust, the Trojans will start off a little slow, but by the end of the year Troy should be back towards to the top of the Sun Belt standings and ready to win another bowl game.

Projected Bowl: GoDaddy.com Bowl

2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 156.62 (56th in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 296.85 (11, 1)
Total Offense: 453.46 (17, 1)
Scoring Offense: 34.08 (20, 1)
Rushing Defense: 165.23 (73, 3)
Pass Defense: 244.62 (100, 9)
Total Defense: 409.85 (89, 8)
Scoring Defense: 30.23 (84, 5)
Turnover Margin: .00 (55, 4)
Sacks: 3.08 (5, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.77 (52, 2)

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