Troy football opens spring practice

Published 11:33 pm Thursday, March 21, 2013

Troy University opened spring football practice at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Thursday with a renewed energy. The team ran through 26 five-minute periods alternating between individual and team drills.

After finishing the 2012 season with a 5-7, the team has now finished under .500 and not qualified for a bowl game in two consecutive seasons. This follows up a stretch of five straight Sun Belt Conference titles. Players feel that this will be the year that they will break that streak.

“Our goal has always been to win the conference and make it to a bowl game,” Troy quarterback Corey Robinson said. “It’s our job as older guys to make sure the younger players know what to do and us all work as a team to accomplish those goals.”

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Robinson will enter his senior campaign as the NCAA’s active leader in passing attempts, completions and passing yards.

Troy is looking to replace some of the offence’s primary weapons to assist Robinson. Gone is deep-threat receiver Chip Reeves as well as the team’s top three running backs, Shawn Southward, D.J. Taylor and versatile back Justin Albert. Southward, who led the team in rushing for the past four seasons will not be easily replaced.

“We’re going miss those guys but at the same time, we’re bringing back some guys that can step up and take their place,” Robinson said. “We’ve got to continue to build on what we’ve done over the past couple of years and take care of the ball a little better.”

Larry Blakeney enters his 23rd season as the Trojans head coach and finding ready to compete is top priority.

“We’re trying to find as many new faces that can become players as possible,” Blakeney said. “I think we’ve gotten a lot bigger and lot stronger. Offensively, we’re polishing what we have done for several years now. Defensively, we’re learning the new terminology and schemes. Overall, we’re looking to be better than we were a year ago and get back to where we want to be.”

Troy will practice every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday leading up the annual T-Day game, which will be held on April 20 at 11 a.m.

The team’s next practice is Saturday at 10 a.m. and will go in shoulder pads and helmets. The first full pad practice is scheduled for March 30.