Thursday night could make or break TSU

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 11, 2000

I’m still having a hard time getting over last Saturday’s loss to Northwestern State.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the Demons were better then Troy State, but they’re not.

It also bothers me that our team played so hard in their comeback effort, but could not put the ball in the endzone even when we had it first and goal from the one-yard line in the closing minutes of the 24-17 game.

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I thought Brock Nutter and the receivers, Jonathan Carter and Heyward Skipper and tailback LeBarron Black were simply brilliant in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line.

You don’t know how many times I wished that Al Lucas was still around to run the "big man" short yardage series. At 296-pounds, he would have been awfully hard to stop from that distance.

A fellow stopped me at the coffee shop the other morning and asked me why Troy State didn’t run the quarterback sneak when it was second down at the one-foot line.

My reply was that I didn’t think Troy State had a quarterback sneak.

In fact, in 10 years of watching Larry Blakeney’s teams play, I’ve never seen them run the quarterback sneak. The reason for that is because for the past 10 years, Troy State brought in a 300 pound lineman to run for short yardage. Remember the great Antoine Marsh, (5-10, 290) or big Reggie Dewight the 6-5, 290 pound tight end that could score by leaping high over the top? Why run the sneak when you had those bulls running it over for you?

All three, Lucas, Marsh, Dewight, were about 75 percent successful on short yardage plays even though the defense knew pretty much which hole they were going to run through.

This year we don’t have that "big man" short yardage team that was so effective in the past nine years. If we do, I have not seen it much. To my knowledge we don’t have the 280-300 pounders that can run it like those three could.

My answer to the gentleman was in the past we didn’t need the quarterback sneak, but maybe now we ought to reconsider. It’s probably the oldest play in football and is still used very effectively by high school, college and pro teams across the country.

Troy State has dug themselves a small hole in the Southland Football League race, but can cover it up a little bit with a big win at home Thursday night against Southwest Texas on FOX TV.

I’m not saying that the Trojans have to win the next six SFL games to win a berth in the Division 1-AA playoffs, but I would feel our chances were much better as a 9-2 team then an 8-3.

The reason I say that is because we’re sort of the bad guy in the SFL right now because we’re moving up to Division 1 next season and deserting the conference and Division 1-AA. Why should they do us any favors by letting us in if they had another team that was an 8-3?

If the Trojans win the next six in a row, which is going to be awfully hard to do, my guess is that they’ll either win the SFL outright and get an automatic bid to the playoffs or they’ll tie for the top spot.

I don’t think that Northwestern will be in contention when that time rolls around after they make trips to Sam Houston State and McNeese State and play Stephen F. Austin, Southwest Texas and Jacksonville State at home. They’ll lose at least two or three out of those five remaining SFL games.

The Trojans must now get re-focused on the job at hand. They must play each remaining game one game at a time. They cannot afford to be caught looking ahead. If they do, their dreams and goals for this season will be gone.

They’ve got to truly believe that they can win out and make the playoffs.

It all starts Thursday night! It’s going to be a tall order to climb back to the top, but if this team has the character that I think it has, they’ll do it.

Always remember that we are Troy State! That’s spelled w-i-n-n-e-r where I come from. We need you at the game on Thursday night!