Troy State coaches prepare for ‘second-season’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 29, 2001

Sports Editor

Following the North Texas game on Saturday, college football’s "second season" will begin for the Troy State coaching staff, as head coach Larry Blakeney and his assistants hit the road recruiting for the next two months.

National signing day for college-bound freshmen is in February of 2001.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

"I’ll probably get on the road on Sunday and go for about four days, as will my assistant coaches," said Blakeney. "We’ll work in the homes and make contacts with the kids and their parents."

Commitments by recruits up until the February signing day are all verbal and non-binding.

The Trojans don’t lose many seniors off of this year’s roster, but what they do lose is experience at key positions, including at quarterback and the entire starting linebacker corps.

Top rusher Demontray Carter will also graduate.

Hansell Bearden appears to be the heir-apparent to Brock Nutter at quarterback with freshmen Kacson Maddox waiting in the wings, but that won’t stop Blakeney from going after a couple of signal-callers.

"We’ll also sign some offensive linemen and some defensive linemen that can give us an outside rush," said Blakeney.

The Trojans return Carter’s back-up, LeBarron Black, next year as well as redshirt freshman DeWhitt Betterson, a player that impressed the coaches with his hard-nosed style of running the football this season.

The secondary and receivers appear

set for next season, with all of the starters returning, but Blakeney said he’d make a scholarship available should a top quality athlete show interest in the Trojans.

Which could be the case with Dothan High School’s Larry Brackins (6-5, 200). Brackins, who played both defensive back and wide receiver, averaged over 30 yards per catch as a senior and lists TSU, along with Florida, Florida State and Clemson, as programs he’s interested in signing with. He was named to the Birmingham Super 12 in the preseason.

Blakeney also made it known he’s looking for a punter and/or a placekicker. Punting was something of an adventure for the Trojans this season with Jeremy Schatz handling the duties for most of the year, but averaging only 37.6 yards per boot. Drew Boetler was just 3-of-7 on field goal attempts.

"We need some combination of both and I’m willing to make a scholarship available," he said. "We need to drastically improve our status punting and placekicking the ball."