Troy players past and present have UT connections

Published 10:16 pm Tuesday, October 30, 2012

While Troy and Tennessee will face off on the gridiron for the first time on Saturday, there are several connections between the schools.

Tennessee cornerbacks coach Derrick Ansley once roamed the defensive secondary in a Trojan uniform. Ansley was hired in February 2012 after spending time at Central Florida, Alabama and Huntingdon in Montgomery.

Ansley started 40 consecutive games for Troy from 2001-04 and finished his junior season fifth in the nation with nine interceptions.

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“He had a nose for the football. He’s as good as any safety we’ve had,” Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said. “He’s really moved up the latter fast. He’s going to be a heck of a coach. I’m proud of him.”

Ansley isn’t the only Trojan with Tennessee ties.

Wide receiver Chip Reeves, a Stone Mountain, Ga., native, originally committed to Tennessee before then-head coach Phillip Folmer stepped down. Reeves’ father mentioned that Troy, who was also recruiting Reeves at the time, like to throw the football. That was all it took for the speedster to jump on board with Troy.

“I was originally going to play cornerback (for Tennessee), but I didn’t want to play defense,” Reeves said. “Troy threw the ball, so it was better for me.”

Reeves said he is ready for the environment that awaits him and the Trojans.

“Big. Orange. Everything is orange in Tennessee. Hotels, McDonalds, stadium, trees, leaves on the trees, everything,” he said. “It’s going to be orange and white. We’re going to be ready for it. We’re going to be motivated.”

Troy will travel to Knoxville coming off a disappointing loss to Florida Atlantic, a game in which the Trojans held a one-point lead with less than two minutes remaining.

“It was deflating,” Blakeney said. “We had manageable third downs that we couldn’t convert. For whatever reason, the wind, the hurricane, the trip, the other team, we just didn’t get it done. All that’s in the past. We have to deal with the future and move on.”

Kickoff from Neyland Stadium is set for 11 a.m. (CST).