Preview 2017: Troy Trojans
Previewing and looking ahead at the Troy Trojans season – and what you need to know.
What You Need To Know About The Troy Offense
That worked out just fine. The Troy offense improved by almost 80 yards per game with a far better and more efficient passing game and a solid ground attack that should be even stronger.
Jordan China is back after leading the team with close to 1,300 yards with 16 scores, but he’s not alone, Everyone who gained a rushing yard returns behind a line that loses both starting tackles, but returns everyone in the interior.
The fast-paced style of the offense didn’t have much of a problem with time of possession, and it had even less of a problem in pass protection for QB Brandon Silvers. He’s back along with just about everyone who caught a pass last season – there weren’t any seniors in the receiving mix.
Biggest Key To The Troy Offense
The offensive tackles have to rock. Antonio Garcia and Tyler Lassiter are gone after stellar seasons, allowing just eight sacks and doing a great job as the veteran leaders up front. Former backup center J.J. Gaston will be tried out on the right side, and Kirk Kelley will go from backup status to starting at left tackle. If they’re terrific, the line should be a plus again.
What You Need To Know About The Troy Defense
Most of the key parts might be back on offense, but the defense takes a huge hit losing all the starting linebackers and top pass rusher Rashad Dillard. In all, six of the top eight tacklers are gone from a defense that turned into one of the Sun Belt’s best.
The linebacking corps will be put together with duct tape for a little while, undergoing a bit of a youth movement around senior Sam Lebbie. The secondary, though looks more than fine at safety and gets back Kamryn Melton at one corner spot.
The line doesn’t have a whole lot of bulk outside of the rotation on the nose, but mostly, it needs the pass rushers to emerge on the end. Jamal Stadom is one of the league’s best interior playmakers behind the line, but the rotation on the outside has to emerge early on.
Biggest Key To The Troy Defense
Don’t get run over. The Trojan defense managed to hold up well against almost everyone, including in the loss to Clemson. On the year, it allowed just 1,562 rushing yards and 3.4 yards per carry, but in the two other defeats, it got flattened by Arkansas State for 208 yards and three scores on the ground, and the Georgia Southern option worked with 218 yards and two scores. Those were the only two times Troy allowed 200 or more.
Troy Will Be Far Better If …
The O is stronger on third downs. It doesn’t seem right considering the running game was so effective and the passing game so efficient, but Troy struggled on third down chances converting 37% of time.
Understandably, the worst outing of the year on third downs was against Clemson – converting just 2-of-15 chances – but there were problems against Arkansas State, too, coming up with just three conversions in 13 chances.
Best Troy Offensive Player
QB Brandon Silvers, Sr. – Jordan Chunn might be the team’s best all-around offensive playmaker with 1,288 yards and 16 scores and with 30 catches, but Silvers was the key to the improvement last season.
The 6-3, 214-pounder might have thrown 12 picks, and he doesn’t have too much mobility or running skills, but he hit 64% of his passes for 3,180 yards and 23 touchdowns. With the receiving corps he has to work with, he could hover around the 4,000-yard mark if the Trojans let it rip.
2. RB Jordan Chunn, Sr.
3. WR Emanuel Thompson, Sr.
4. WR Deondre Douglas, Jr.
5. WR Tevaris McCormick, Sr.
Best Troy Defensive Player
S Kris Weatherspoon, Sr.– The team’s second-leading tackler last season, the 6-2, 208-pounder is a force for a great group of safeties. He came up with 52 tackles with 7.5 tackles for loss and eight broken up passes, doing a little bit of everything for the defensive backfield. Steady, he’s a sure-thing hitter who’s great as another strong option against the run, as well as in the open field.
2. DT Jamal Stadom, Sr.
3. S Cedarius Rookard, Jr.
4. CB Kamryn Melton, Sr.
5. DT Baron Poole, Sr.
Key Player To A Successful Season
DE Seth Calloway. Sr. Able to play inside or out, the 6-3, 252-pounder can be used as a smallish inside defender or can see time on the outside – he’ll start out as a defensive end, and now he has to be more of a pass rusher. No one’s expecting him to be another Rashad Dillard, but he has to at least be more of a factor after not registering a sack last season.
The Troy Season Will Be A Success If …
The Trojans win the Sun Belt title. With too much offensive talent back on offense, and a good enough defense back, the Trojans should join Appalachian State and Arkansas State as the stars of the Sun Belt – now win it.
Even with all the success, Troy still finished third in the Sun Belt thanks to the two late losses. It doesn’t have to face Appalachian State or Louisiana-Lafayette in a not-that-bad conference schedule, meaning the championship could all come down to …
Key Game To The Troy Season
Dec. 2 at Arkansas State – Again, with no Appalachian State on the schedule, the Sun Belt title might not be secured outright with a win, but this is by far the toughest date for the Trojans in conference play. Last it was the big game that turned out to be a clunker that proved way too costly – a 35-3 win for the Red Wolves. This season, the Trojans will be coming off a run of three home games in four dates to get ready for the showdown.
2016 Troy Fun Stats
– 1st Quarter Scoring: Troy 133 – Opponents 58
– Sacks: Troy 29 for 191 yards – Opponents 8 for 61 yards
– Touchdowns: Troy 55 – Opponents 36