Trojans come off bye week ready for ULM
It was nearly two years ago when the Troy Trojans dropped their last Sun Belt Conference game.
The Trojans traveled to Louisiana-Monroe on Nov. 1, and returned to Troy with a 31-30 loss.
Now, two years and 13 consecutive conference wins later, the Trojans will return to the place of their last loss seeking revenge.
Going into the game, the team will be well rested, as it will be coming off its bye week.
“It seems like six months since we played a game,” head coach Larry Blakeney said to open the team’s weekly press conference Monday morning.
“We had a hard time ourselves against Louisiana-Lafayette. With the exception of the five turnovers, I thought the offense played pretty well. They were throwing a lot of different stuff at us defensively and I expect Louisiana-Monroe to do the same.
“I’m hoping we handle our team preparation properly and I am hoping that we can prepare as well as we can (for this game),” he added.
In that one-point loss, the Trojans were without two key players on both sides of the ball as Jerrel Jernigan and then linebacker Bear Woods missed the game due to injury.
“There were a lot of mistakes that took place that night,” Blakeney recalled.
“We had kicking woes, and we didn’t execute sharply. Hopefully, better preparation and remembrance will help us have a better outcome.”
As for Jernigan, the senior wide out will be making his first and last visit to Malone Stadium this weekend.
And even though he was not a part of the last loss, he said he was going to prepare for it like he was.
“That loss is going to provide extra motivation for all of us,” he said.
“It was our last loss. I have heard that it is a tough environment to play in, I heard the fans our tough, but I am going to give it my all – especially since I haven’t played there yet.”
While the team is coming off an off week, Blakeney said he doesn’t believe a couple days removed from football is going to hurt his ball club.
“I don’t get that,” the coach said about the possibility of his team being rusty going into its game with the Warhawks.
“If you do everything you are supposed to, you will be OK. We had three good practices (last week) mixed in with the guys going to class, weightlifting, running and a meeting on Friday and Saturday.
“I think going into this week, we are going have to prepare as best we can. We have to take our best to Monroe,” the coach said.
As far as what the players did during their time off, for some, it was a time to watch other teams around the county play.
“I kicked my feet up and watched as many football games as I could find on television,” Jonathan Massaquoi said about his Saturday off.
“It was a fun day and one I think everyone on the team was looking forward to – it was much needed.”
Now, Massaquoi and the rest of his teammates will begin preparing for its next challenge.
“We had a good off week, good practices and everything, but now our focus has got to be on this game.
“We know what we are going into this week and we have to be ready for (ULM’s) best.”