Trojans work with quarterback shuffle

Published 9:17 pm Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Recently, the quarterback position has been a hot topic for the Troy Trojans.

In the first six games, the team has seen the highs with the rise of red shirt freshman Corey Robinson to the lows of losing backup Jamie Hampton for the season due to injury.

Now, the Troy coaches have to deal with another unexpected turn of events.

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The latest news from the position was not one of success or injury but of departure.

Junior college transfer Greg Jenkins, who committed to Troy back in Aug. of 2009 from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, left the Trojans over this past weekend.

“Greg just had it in his head that he would be playing after his transfer here,” Blakeney said.

“We were trying to get him to really be our No. 1 go to guy at backup but he had some series questions about that and whether he wanted to do that or not. We are going to let him finish off the semester here and transfer to where ever he likes. I’m not mad at him, no one is mad at him, he just thought he would be in a better position to start here, I think.”

With Jenkins now gone, and Dantavious Parker before him leaving earlier in the year for Texas Southern University, the Trojans will turn to two former quarterbacks to help stabilization the current depth, or lack thereof, for the quarterbacks.

In 2006, both Jonathan Chandler and Tanner Jones were on the roster as quarterbacks for Troy.

Four years, a position change and several injuries later, the two are back at their old positions with the Trojans.

“Jamie’s injury was a big one,” the coach said. “It really put a damper on everything.

“He was a guy we could bring in for 10 or 12 plays and had a lot of experience in case Corey went down. But Tanner and Jonathan are both up to this challenge and have worked hard since (going back to the quarterback position).”

Jones, who is a fifth-year senior, last played in 2008 before tearing his ACL against North Texas.

Before he was asked to return to the field by Troy coaches, specifically, offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield, he was a student coach for the team.

“We have been working with Tanner for a while now,” Blakeney said.

“He is wearing a brace on his left knee, but is looking good so far in practice. He still knows a lot of this offense, but it will take him some time to catch up physically.”

As for Chandler, it’s been exactly a week since the Trojan moved back to the position he found success in during his high school days with Opelika.

“Jonathan is a tough kid and was a pretty good quarterback in high school,” Blakeney said.

“He has been looking good so far during practice, but I think, just like Tanner, he is going to ready to go once we get to Louisiana-Monroe.

In 2008, after switching to receiver, Chandler moved back to the quarterback position because of injuries to the position.

Before Saturday’s 34-yard touchdown pass to Jason Bruce, Chandler’s last pass happening in 2009 against Arkansas, on the same play, to the same player, with the same result.

“It felt good to be back out there again,” Chandler said.

“Mentally, I’m not out of the loop, it’s just physically, where I need some work in. Just little things, like footwork and the right positioning, but I’m going to use the week off to get the feeling back.”

For Edenfield, while its almost been a case of musical chairs for the quarterbacks, having two guys fill in spots with some experience is a big help.

“Jonathan was doing such a good job for us as a receiver,” Edenfield said. “It was difficult to move him back but he was all for it. Tanner had been working with us as a student-coach, and had been throwing a little bit here and there, and once we found out he had a clean bill of health from the doctors, he started practicing with us. So far, both look like they haven’t missed a beat.

“But those guys are both Troy guys first and foremost – this was the school they wanted to come to from the start and help win. A lot of times in this day and age, guys will go to schools and get impatient and leave because they think they will have a better shot at starting or contributing at another place. That’s been the case for some of the players that have come here, and that’s OK, but Tanner and Jonathan have been patient and have done a lot to help out this team throughout the years.”

And while the two quarterbacks will be preparing, another player, who is also familiar with the position will be getting some more looks behind center.

Senior wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan has taken multiple snaps throughout his four-year career, on mostly running plays, however, both Blakeney and Edenfield said the former quarterback at Eufaula may be looking at more passing plays for the Trojans.

“Jerrel is someone who can definitely make some good passes and has in the past for us,” Edenfield said, “and that is something we are looking into and something he is willing to do for the team.”