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Troy works through injuries

Even though the college football season is just a few weeks in, the Troy Trojans already have a lot on their plate.

Specifically, thanks in part to the injury bug.

While there is up to eight players who are either questionable or out of Saturday’s Sun Belt Conference opener against Arkansas State, the biggest impacted area of the team is the offensive line.

The most recent blow came against UAB, when sophomore Jacob Creech went down with a shoulder injury, leaving head coach Larry Blakeney and the rest of his coaching staff looking for replacements.

“We have had a good week of practice, as far as I can tell,” Blakeney said Wednesday night.

“There are a lot of guys getting a lot of time on the field – some who have been there before and some kids who haven’t.”

One of the players who will have a key role in getting the offense going will be Nathan Newland, who Blakeney referred to as an ‘X-factor’. Fellow sophomore, Kyle Wilborn, will replace Creech as guard, while junior Zach Swindall will take over at center.

Tyler Clark and James Brown will fill in the right and left guard positions.

“A lot of the guys have looked good (in practice), but there is a difference between practice and game experience,” the coach said. “Hard to say exactly what will happen when that comes around.” Besides the line, the coach said everyone else on the offensive side of the ball appears healthy and ready to play come Saturday. Defensively, the Trojans will be without defensive end Mario Addison, who broke his left hand against the Blazers.

“Mario was a key guy for us, defensively,” Blakeney said.

“But we have had some good practices with Emmanuel Dudley and Riley Flowers. Both guys have practiced well, but not played in many games.

“It’s key that we come out swinging (Saturday afternoon),” the coach added.

The Trojans will play host to the Red Wolves, with a kick off scheduled for 2:30 p.m.