Troy turns attention to first ever meeting with South Alabama

Published 10:00 pm Monday, September 24, 2012

Coming off a hard fought, physical 14-7 win over North Texas, Troy has little time to sit back

The Trojans are gearing up to face Sun Belt newcomer South Alabama for the first time ever and the significance is greater than some might think.

“They’re close. We’re recruiting the same people. It’s a natural rivalry,” Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said. “(South Alabama) have invested in football heavily and have facilities to be proud of. You can ride in and look at all that and sometimes get blown away.”

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The Jaguars will be hosting their first-ever Sun Belt Conference game and Mobile is one of Troy’s recruiting hotbeds.

“We run into (South Alabama) a lot. The kids that we’re offering, they’re offering,” defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Randy Butler said. “It’s no different than the other schools that are recruiting that area. We’re all fighting each other.”

For Troy players, the game with South Alabama is a chance to prove to the new in-state rival that the Trojans are still the top dogs in the conference.

“We can’t let the new guys come over and take over the Sun Belt,” linebacker DeVon Terry said. “They have to earn their respect. They have to beat somebody and win some championships. They can’t just come and muscle us around. We want to prove that we’re back and get this championship.” The Jaguars are 1-3 with the lone victory a 9-3 decision over Nicholls State. Though South Alabama, who is in its final Division I transitional season, is not included in NCAA statistical categories, the team is second in total defense among Sun Belt Conference schools.

“They don’t give up many yards. They are very good fundamentally,” offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield said. “It will be a challenge for us. We’re looking forward to the opportunity.”

The Trojans will be without the services of another offensive lineman. Left tackle Chris Hawkins suffered an ankle injury against North Texas that required surgery and is done for the season. Guard Zach Johnson is also doubtful to return this year after a concussion.

Safety Chris Pickett and cornerback T.J. Bryant, who were suspended for the North Texas game due to a violation of team rules, will also be out against South Alabama.

Safety Brynden Trwaick was named Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week after he recorded 15 tackles, 1.5 for loss and a pass break up.

Kicker/Punter Will Scott earned Special Teams Player of the Week honors.