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TSU defense controls scrimmage

The Troy State defense has picked up where it left off in spring practice, dominating the line of scrimmage and wreaking havoc through the first six days of two-a-day workouts for the Trojans.

That much hasn’t necessarily surprised defensive coordinator Wayne Bolt, who knew he had a deep, talented squad returning. What has surprised him is the cast contributing to the carnage.

Five defensive starters remained sidelined during Tuesday’s evening practice on the eve of the team’s first preseason scrimmage, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Memorial Stadium. Linebacker Deloise Moore (knee), strong safety Damien Coleman (knee), cornerback Freeman White (knee), defensive end Shelton Felton (concussion) and free safety Derrick Ansley (neck) are all expected to return within the next week. Despite their absences, however, the defensive unit continued to have its way in the team’s full-scale drills late Tuesday.

"We’ve got a lot of folks hurt right now," Bolt said. "That concerns me, but at the same time we have been able to get a lot of our younger guys some work, and they’ve responded. Once we get those older guys back, we’ll be OK."

Among those taking advantage of their increased playing time are redshirt freshman cornerback Jermaine Miller and senior strong safety David Philyaw. Both, Bolt said, have been pleasant surprises thus far.

Trojans head coach Larry Blakeney said he is not concerned about his team’s lack of offensive consistency just yet.

"The offense is a tad behind," Blakeney said. "But I think if we line up in a game plan and stick to it, we’ll move the ball and score a little. Our defense knows what they want to do, and they have been practicing against our offense for a full week now. That gives them a little bit of an advantage."

The offensive continues to work without starting center Trent Garmon (shoulder) and senior Lee Walls, a reserve who plays at multiple positions. The Trojans will run approximately 50 plays for the first- and second-team units during Wednesday’s scrimmage, Blakeney said.

That, he said, will give a better barometer for how far the team has come in a week.

"We’ll be looking for consistency and continuity on offense and aggressiveness and energy on defense," Blakeney said. "We’ll find out about a lot of our young players, especially at linebacker."

In other notes: The Trojans will hold their second scrimmage at Memorial Stadium on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Two-a-day workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday will be the final ones before classes begin on Monday, Aug. 19. The team will meet in positional groups in the mornings on Thursday and Friday before working on the field in afternoon sessions

The remainder of the team’s walk-ons will report on Sunday, Aug. 18, for physicals. The team expects 20-25 players to report and join the team on the field Monday afternoon

The 2002 Troy State Fan Appreciation Day is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 25, at Memorial Stadium. Troy State players, coaches, cheerleaders, and the TSU mascot (T-Roy), will be on hands for pictures and autographs.