Troy State takes week off before Tampa trip

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 18, 2000

Sports Editor

TROY – Troy State Head Coach Larry Blakeney said he was concerned about how is team would perform against Alabama State on Saturday, coming off a big road victory over a ranked opponent.

"I was concerned about a let down," Blakeney said on Monday, whose top-ranked Trojans defeated Appalachian State on Sept. 9 and thoroughly handled the Hornets on Saturday, 62-19. "Their offense (Alabama State) came out and lined up differently and for awhile there we couldn’t find them."

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"Awhile" meaning about a little over a minute.

Junior tailback Demontray Carter’s 86-yard kickoff return for a touchdown at the 13:42 mark of the first quarter gave the Trojans a 7-6 lead over the Hornets. Alabama State had just scored on their opening possession, with quarterback Darnell Kennedy finding Kenard Williams behind the TSU defense for an 84-yard touchdown.

After that, though, the Troy State defense begin applying the pressure to Kennedy and the Hornets.

The result?

Two fumbles and five interceptions, including one which was returned for a touchdown by TSU defensive back Travis Bozeman giving the Trojans a 31-6 lead still in the first quarter.

"That first touchdown by Alabama State lit a spark under our football team," said Blakeney. "After that we started chasing Kennedy around and putting some hits on him. We only had two sacks, but we kept somebody in his face for just about the entire game."

At 3-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country in Division 1-AA, Blakeney said he likes what he sees in this year’s team.

"Our chemistry is still growing," he said, "as long as people are accepting their roll and understand what they have to do, we’re just going to get better."

Blakeney also said he was pleased at the way certain areas of the team are contributing to the Trojans’ success. There were several question marks going into the season-mostly on the defensive line and at wide receiver-but Blakeney said those areas have become solid.

"I feel good at the way people have stepped up," he said. "I believe (receivers) Jonathan Carter and Heyward Skipper are playing like they can be counted on in the clutch. And Daniel O’Brien is a player that will take some punishment to get to the football. He’s not a speedy guy, but he’s a great inside receiver for us."

Right now, Blakeney said one area of concern, going into the fourth week of the season, was in the defensive secondary.

"We’re still a little thin in that area," he said. "We can’t afford a lot of injuries to our secondary. We’ve got some talent there and we can move some people around, but we don’t have that much depth."

The Trojans’ defensive backfield took a hit Saturday when redshirt freshman free safety Derick Ansley went down with a torn ACL. Ansley will miss the rest of the season.

"We’re going to miss Derick. He was always around the ball," Blakeney said. "The way he played the game is what impressed me."

Blakeney said Troy State would appeal to the NCAA to have Ansley granted a medical redshirt status.

This week, the Trojans will be idle and play next at South Florida in Tampa on Sept. 30.

Blakeney said his team would practice

four days this week and take the weekend off.

"We’re going to rest some and get these guy’s rejuvenated," he said. "Next week we’ll bring them in on Monday and get them refocused and ready to play some football."