Troy secondary confident as season nearsPublished 11:03pm Wednesday, August 14, 2013
With opening kickoff of the college football season just 16 days away for Troy, position coaches are looking to solidify their depth charts and fill in any voids they may have.
For secondary coach Dustin Landry, options are definitely not limited.
“We’ve got players, we’ve just got to get them settled in and completely comfortable with what we’re doing,” Landry said. “We’re fortunate to have several older guys to help the younger guys along. There is a lot of talent out there.”
Seniors Chris Pickett and Camren Hudson will anchor the safety positions. Both are coming off shoulder injuries that kept them out of spring camp, but both are also 100 percent and will provide senior leadership on a defense trying to regain its image as one of the best in the Sun Belt Conference.
“Having those guys back there will help with the adjustment to some of the newer things we’re doing,” Landry said. “They know how to play the game, know the speed of the game. For them it’s just polishing up of some of the new things that we’ve implemented.”
Neither Pickett or Hudson had an interception last season but did rank fourth and fifth on the team in tackles respectively.
The cornerback position will see some fresh faces after starter Zach Miller was ruled academically ineligible. Chris Davis played in all 12 games for the Trojans last year and will be a natural fit at one of the corner spots. Landry says the second starting spot belongs to Ethan Davis.
“They were really the two frontrunner coming in and haven’t done anything to relinquish their spots,” Landry said. “They are guys that are steady, its not a up and down rollercoaster like it is for some of the other guys so they have put themselves out front with their attention to details and consistency.”
Keion Payne will continue to push the two Davis’ and likely see a fair amount of playing time. Payne sat out most of the early fall practices with heat related issues. Landry said Payne’s performance in Saturday’s scrimmage was solid and that he graded out very high.
As a unit, Troy intercepted just six passes in 2012 — ranked 105th in that category — which is something they look to improve upon this season. Troy ranked 94th a year ago in overall pass defense.
One benefit to the secondary in the group’s preseason preparation will be the talented wide receiving corps that they must face every practice.
“When you’ve guys like Corey [Robinson] and Deon [Anthony] throwing balls to guys like Eric Thomas and B.J. Chitty and many others, it challenges us day in and day out,” Landry said. “We’re going to get their best shot everyday. They’re going to be talking, we’re going to be talking back, it’s a great battle every day between our guys.”
Troy will continue to practice in preparation for the team’s season opener against UAB at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Aug. 31. Kickoff is set for 6p.m.