2008 Troy Trojans Football Preview
Troy Trojans - Sun Belt
Troy 2007 Record: (8-4, 6-1)
2007 Bowl: none
Troy Head Coach: Larry Blakeney (136-68-1 at Troy, 136-68-1 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Neal Brown
Defensive Coordinator: Jeremy Rowell
Returning Leaders for Troy:
Other Key Returnees: WR Kennard Burton, G Tyler Clark, C Danny Franks, DT Dion Gales, OT Chris Jamison, S Sherrod Martin, S Terrence MooreG Wesley Potter, DE Cameron Sheffield, OT Dion Small, WR Mykeal Terry, S Tavares Williams
Key Losses: WR Josh Allen, WR Gary Banks, RB Kenny Cattouse, QB Omar Haugabook, CB Elbert Mack, CB Leodis McKelvin, DT Marcus Richardson, DE Shawn Todd
Despite losing most of their playmakers on offense and arguably the best two cornerbacks in the league in Leodis McKelvin and Elbert Mack, Troy and Coach Larry Blakeney have built a winner in Alabama. The goal this year will be to not lose any ground and, as always, win a Sun Belt title.
Troy's 2008 Strengths:
However, the players that are coming into Troy are very talented and there is plenty of depth ready to step up into a starting role. The Trojans also hit the junior college ranks pretty hard this year to help fill in those dire needs, especially in the secondary. But it is not all about new faces. Six offensive linemen with starting experience are back and that will help the offense adjust to a new backfield. Center Danny Franks and tackles Chris Jamison and Dion Small could all earn all-conference honors this year. The line on the other side of the ball is almost as good, led by ends Brandon Lang and Kenny Mainor and nose tackle Dion Gales.
Troy's 2008 Weaknesses:
The offensive line might be the best in the conference, but that will not matter too much if the new skill players do not pull their weight. Quarterback Omar Haugabook is gone after a stellar career at Troy and now it is up to sophomore Jamie Hampton to air it out. Hampton’s ability to create with his feet, like Haugabook, gave him the starting job coming out of the spring over Tanner Jones and Levi Brown, both of whom are better passers. The offense also needs to find a replacement for leading receiver Gary Banks. There are some options like Kennard Burton, Mykeal Terry, Jerrel Jernigan and Gerald Tate, but this is a team that needs a plethora of receivers. Running back Kenny Cattouse had a decent senior year, rushing for nearly 800 yards. Sophomore DuJuan Harris has the most experience as Cattouse’s backup last season, but junior college transfer Maurice Greer and freshmen Chris Anderson and T.J. Mitchell will get an opportunity to earn some carries.
The Bottom Line for the Trojans:
The bigger concern might be in the secondary. Sherrod Martin, Terence Moore and Tavares Williams are all back, but Troy has to somehow try to replace McKelvin and Mack. There are plenty of talented options, but there simply has to be a drop off from McKelvin, who was drafted 11 th overall in the NFL Draft. Next year the Trojans will be loaded and the clear favorite to win the conference, but they could very well pull it off this year too.
2007 Troy Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 182.58 (35 th in nation, 3 rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 270.25 (30, 3)
Total Offense: 452.83 (16, 1)
Scoring Offense: 34.00 (25, 1)
Rushing Defense: 195.17 (95, 4)
Pass Defense: 183.08 (10, 1)
Total Defense: 378.25 (57, 2)
Scoring Defense: 24.58 (44, 1)
Turnover Margin: -.08 (64, 4)
Sacks: 2.33 (38, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.58 (38, 4)
By Joel Welser
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