Who Are the Troy Trojans?

Seriously, who are the Troy Trojans?  Well seriously, Troy is a school in Alabama that is a member of the Sun Belt Conference.  They are also the Week 2 opponent on Oklahoma State's football schedule.  We play them, so let's take a look at what we will be up against on September 11th at BPS.*

*Dark horse candidate for the 2010 Intro awards

I am hoping to finish up the team previews for all four non-conference opponents this week.  If you missed the Washington State preview, read it here... read it!

Fun Facts about Troy
Before they became the Trojans, Troy sported the nickname "Red Wave".  It wasn't until the 70's that they decided that being represented by a nickname that is even more of a menstrual euphemism than Crimson Tide wasn't that cool, and changed their name to something a little more suitable... The Troy Monthly Flow.  That name was short lived (or possibly completely imaginary) then "Troy Trojans" was taken on as the permanent nickname for the school (or at least until that becomes a euphemism for a period).  By the way.. I apologize that this team preview is coming out three days later than I had planned, my wife has been on her Troy Trojan and has been a real B lately.

Oklahoma State has faced off with the Trojans on two previous occasions. In 2008, the Cowboys rode 612 yards of total offense to a 55-24 victory in Stillwater.  In 2007, the game took place in Troy, AL, in a contest I have no memory of.  I do vividly remember the big win in Lincoln, the close call with Texas, the victories over Tech and Kansas State, and an impressive victory in the Insight.com bowl in 2007, but for some reason I don't even remember a game being played at Troy.  And i especially don't remember goal posts being torn down in Troy, Alabama on 9/14/2007. If anyone actually remembers this game, feel free to leave a description in the comments section.

Recent Football History at Troy
Larry Blakeney enters his 20th season as head coach at Troy.  In his time there, Blakeney has guided the Trojans to multiple Southland Conference titles, then the jump to Division 1A (now FBS) level in 2001, and most recently to 4 straight Sun Belt Conference championships (2006-2009).  Blakeney's record at Troy is 153-77-1.  Recent seasons have featured an impressive Trojan offensive attack. In 2009, the Troy offense finished the season ranked 3rd in the nation in total offense behind the superb play of stud quarterback Levi Brown and his 4,254 passing yards. The could move the ball and score.... at least as long as they were playing Sun Belt teams, as last years matchups with Florida and Arkansas proved.

The Troy Offense
You remember all that good stuff I was saying about the Troy offense in the previous section?  Well forget it.  In fact, if you read team previews from the bottom of the page to the top, don't bother reading up from this point... those of you that read top to bottom, you so wasted your time with that last section. The reason you can forget 2009... is because it is 2010. And 2010 has seen the departure of the architect of that Troy offense, Neal Brown, to Texas Tech, stud quarterback Levi Brown was drafted by the Buffalo Bills, and most of the offensive line is gone as well. So just as in Stillwater, it is somewhat of a rebuilding year for the Troy offense.

The Playas
The offense does return the dynamic rushing duo of Shawn Southward and DuJuan Harris.  Harris was the man as a sophomore in 2008 gaining 1293 total yards, 11 touchdowns, and earning All Sun Belt honors.  However, 2009 started slow for Harris who averaged only 3.9 yards per carry, forcing the coaching staff to start giving more of the workload to the true Freshman, Southward. Harris only averaged 7 carries a game over the last 5 games of the season. It is assumed that Harris, the Senior, and Southward, now a Freshman+1=Sophomore, will split carries to start the season, with the coaches feeding the hot hand.  

And by the way, the top asset of the top 3 on the depth chart at running back is "breakaway speed" which is a nice way of saying they are all undersized. Harris (5'7 195), Southward (5-8 184), and projected 3rd stringer Mike Smith (5'9 180) are all basically the same guy. You can call them DuShaMi if you want, but that is kinda stupid. They all have good straight-line speed, good 40 times, but aren't all that shifty and aren't great at finding space in the interior.

Also returning is top receiver and two-time All Sun Belt honoree, Senior Jerrel Jernigan who should provide a little stability, and a good target for the new quarterback: [to be determined].  At 5'9 -180 - 4.3, Jernigan continues the trend of undersized-speediness that is rampant on this Troy roster, and he has produced some impressive stats with two straight 70+ catch seasons, and last year passing the 1100 yard mark.  The second receiving threat is 6'1 Tebarius Gill who had 47 catches last season. Gill brings some much needed strength and toughness to the receiving corps and functions as the go to target in red zone situations.  In the slot will be the child sized Jason Bruce (5'9 159) who had 24 catches last season.  As undersized as Troy is at wide receiver, they do return a ton of catches, a lot of experience, and speed all over the place.

At the QB position, there is basically a four-way battle for the starting spot (take that Texas Tech), with none of the options being all that exciting. One (Jamie Hampton) was supposed to be the starter in 2008 but struggled and was replaced by Levi Brown (remember him from up above?), two of them (Corey Robinson, Danatavious Parker) posses the deadly combination of being under six feet tall and having weak arms, and the fourth (Greg Jenkins) is a CC transfer.

Scheme stuff
Last season featured a spread attack with almost all plays being run out of 4-wide sets and from the shotgun. The playcalling was similar to Tech/Houston with a lot of misdirection, short routes, end arounds, and zone reads. Their most effective, and heavily leaned upon, weapon was to run screens and short crossing routes for Jernigan to allow him to make moves in the open field.

With new offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield, a glaring weak spot at QB, and a team that is undersized all over the field (with the exception of 340 pound LT James Brown), it is unknown right now what kind of attack the Troy offense plans to unleash at BPS.  I think for now we have to assume it will be more run focused, and may even try to employ some sort of low center of gravity attack that has never been seen before.  However, Edenfield was hired from within (promoted from receivers coach) so he is intimately familiar with Brown's effective offensive scheme from a year ago, and as such we shouldn't be shocked if they are closer to last season's 60/40 pass/run playcalling distribution, and heavy use of shotgun, lots of WRs, and misdirection.

Was this not enough Troy for ya?  Well rest easy, Part 2 covering the defense, special teams, and some half-assed predictions will be up tomorrow!

Part 2 is up (exclamation point)

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