Trojans begin pursuit of conference title

Published 9:42 pm Monday, August 2, 2010

As August rolls in, the Troy Trojans hit the practice field for the first time Monday evening, beginning a season that they hope ends the same way the last four have ended – with a Sun Belt Championship.

Over the summer months, the team had two different camps made up of different players, but without coaches.

Now, all the players and coaches can be on the field at the same time.

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On Sunday night, head coach Larry Blakeney and his coaching staff were able to see how well in shape his team would be coming into training camp, and according to the coach, so far, so good.

“We had our running tests (Sunday night),” Blakeney said. “And everyone looked to be in pretty good shape.”

“We had a bunch of guys train over the summer and even the guys who didn’t look good so we thought might be ahead of the curve this year more so than years past – now we have to focus on seeing how the pieces to the puzzle are going to fit,” he added.

One of those pieces will be finding a new quarterback while several other pieces will be putting together a solid defensive line.

Levi Brown, the Trojans quarterback for the past two seasons, and defensive linemen Cameron Sheffield, Brandon Lang and Eugene Kinlaw all left Troy for the professional football ranks this past spring.

“We definitely have our work cut out for us, but I think we have the right people in place to make some good things happen,” Blakeney said.

Two of those people are competing for the same job – the starting quarterback position.

Jamie Hampton, who was Troy’s starter in 2008 before a knee injury sidelined him, and Corey Robinson, a Troy recruit in the 2008 class.

“We got to know who is going to take (the quarterback spot),” Blakeney said.

“Both are team first kind of guys, and both have great leadership skills, but I am not sure how it will go. Jamie is more of a runner, but Corey throws the ball very courageously.

“Both guys have shown us a lot though and I think both guys would do a tremendous job for us,” the coach said.

The other pieces of the puzzle my be a little bit more difficult to put together, according to the coach.

While Blakeney pointed out that the team has guys who are ready to play on the defensive side of the ball, it all comes down to finding which guys work best with the team’s schemes.

“(Defense) is a real huge question for us right now,” the coach said.

“We lost some really good guys last year, but we have have to find our way for this season.”

Players who will be coming back defensively for Troy include: Bryan Willis, Mario Addison, Daniel Sheffield, Chandler Duncan, Sidell Corley and Brandon Boudreaux.