Looking ahead: Trojans prepare for Gators
Published 12:00 am Monday, September 3, 2007
For Troy University, it's time to move on from Saturday's heartbreaking 46-26 loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks.
This time, the Trojans face off with an even bigger threat: the Florida Gators. Troy travels to Gainesville, Fla., to try to carve out a win in the harsh confines of the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium - more commonly known as &uot;The Swamp.”
“We have to go in and play our best game,” said Trojan quarterback Omar Haugabook. “We (quarterbacks and receivers) started watching film Sunday, and we have seen some things we feel like we can exploit on their defense, but we've seen things they're very good at, too.”
But what about the road atmosphere, where the rowdy Gator fans can often shake the ground with their volume?
“We just have to block out their fans, block out the noise and play our game,” Haugabook said.
That may be easier said than done. The Gators have won 16 in a row at home, and Troy coach Larry Blakeney knows what the atmosphere is like in Gainesville; he's traveled to The Swamp as a player and assistant coach at Auburn.
“It (the football stadium) is going to be full, it's going to be loud, and the fans are going to be right on top of you,” Blakeney said. “We are going to have to play very disciplined team defense. (Florida quarterback Tim) Tebow is obviously their catalyst. We've got to be close to perfect to win.”
Because of its offensive scheme, Blakeney thinks the Trojans will be able to handle the noise in Gainesville.
“I don't think the noise bothers our offense a lot,” he said. “We signal in everything, we use hand signals a lot.”
One key concern is kickoff coverage. Troy allowed the Razorbacks' Felix Jones to return a 90-yard touchdown. That's unacceptable for the Trojans.
“We didn't attack the wedge,” Blakeney said. “We caught the wedge. That's not Troy football right there.”
The coach said to expect changes in the kick coverage team against Florida.
“I'm looking for guys who are slobbering at the mouth, who want to go down and break that wedge and hit somebody,” Blakeney said.
Still, there were positives for the Trojans.
“I'm proud of the offensive line,” Blakeney said. “I thought they answered some questions Saturday night.
“I think we have something where we can build on what we saw in the Arkansas game. You are never happy or satisfied with a loss or you're in the wrong business.”