As there is no Troy Trojans site at SB Nation (what the hell Troy, Oklahoma State has had a site for a whole month now), we had to look to outside sources to get us some information. Enter Drew Champlin. Drew regularly updates a Troy blog over at the DothanEagle.com, the newspaper for Dothan, Alabama, and was nice enough to respond to a few quick questions we had about the Trojans. He can also be found on Twitter at @dothaneagletroy. We wanted every question we posed to Drew to be about Bear Woods, but too much Bear Woods info might have terrified our web server, so we instead decided to ask about the 2010 Trojans, and their matchup with the Pokes.
With Troy losing their OC, QB, two O-linemen, and 9 starters on defense, we are pretty confused as to how good of a season to expect. What is the consensus there? Are people expecting a 5-peat as Sun Belt Champions?
Yeah, most people believe that Troy has more talent than every other team in the league. Last year, with the exception of one, maybe two games, Troy breezed through the league. It's still possible to win it all this year, but it will be a lot harder.
In a preview I wrote about the Trojans, I made quite a few comments about how undersized they are at almost every position. Is this a concern or does it fit a scheme and is the kind of team Coach Blakeney prefers to run with?
Most Sun Belt teams are that way, when you compare them to teams in bigger conferences. Troy's in a little bit of a rebuilding phase when it comes to size, but the OL is big enough to handle its own and there are some tall WRs. Troy likes those smaller, shiftier running backs who can make plays, though, and most 6-foot-2 cornerbacks aren't going to go to Troy.
One guy that is undersized yet terrifies us, along with I'm sure the entire Sun Belt, is Jerrel Jernigan. What can we expect to see from him on Saturday, and has there been a defense that has been able to limit him?
They'll try to get Jernigan the ball as much as they can, and he'll get his yards if he can get his touches. Bowling Green limited him last week, but he still broke a 49-yard touchdown run and had a few catches. They didn't kick to him much, though. He'll line up to return kicks and punts, line up as the QB some, take some handoffs and go out as a wide receiver. Most of his bigger games have come toward the middle and end of the season over the past couple of years.
In the Bowling Green game last week, the Trojans spread the ball to a lot of different RB's and WR's, is this what we can expect going forward, or is it a product of still figuring out who the #1's will be?
Troy normally has 15-18 guys that score touchdowns, and they rotate guys in and out at every skill position. That's something to expect going forward because that's how they have always done it, but the big keys end up being #3 (Jernigan) and #20 (running back Shawn Southward). There are other guys that can make plays, but Jernigan is the best wide receiver and Southward is the best running back.
Who are the impact players on the defensive side that need to step up, and that Oklahoma State should be concerned about on Saturday?
All of them. Defensive ends Mario Addison (7) and Jonathan Massaquoi (94) must be able to be effective with the pass rush. The interior linebackers, Xavier Lamb (25) and Donnell Golden (40) must be able to fill the gaps when OSU tries to run up the middle. The cornerbacks, led by Bryan Willis (26) will be tested and the safeties - Willard Ross (22) and Bryant McKissic (23) can't get beat deep.
Troy comes into Stillwater as a 2 touchdown underdog... in your opinion, what would have to happen for Troy to be able to pull the upset?
Cut the penalties by 75%, don't throw any interceptions and don't lose any fumbles. Troy has had problems scoring touchdowns in the red zone when it gets a chance against the bigger schools. When you're a "little guy" trying to win these money games on the road, you can't take 3 when 7 is right there in front of you.