Troy defense looking for improvement up front

Published 11:01 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2013

As the Troy football team nears the end of spring practice, no unit on the field has more to prove than the defense. The Trojans will look to its front seven to provide much needed improvement.

As a team, Troy recorded just 13 sacks last season ranking them 114th nationally of 124 teams. There will be an abundance of new faces on the defensive side of the ball in 2013 for Troy but that excites some of the veterans.

“We want to prove that we can play defense with anyone in the country. We have one of the top offenses in the country and they’re great, we want to be great,” said junior linebacker Mark Wilson. “Our defense is kind of overlooked but that’s OK we like being overlooked because we’re going to make a lot of noise this year.”

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Another player Troy will be looking to for leadership this season is sophomore Tyler Roberts. As a redshirt freshman, Roberts started all 12 games as a bandit linebacker. This year, Roberts has made the transition to a traditional defensive end.

“I find myself teaching some of the other guys a little more rather than them teaching me like last year,” Roberts said. “It’s a new system under Coach (Wayne) Bolt but we’re excited about what we’re doing.”

Bolt says Roberts has proven himself in his new role and will be a vital part of the defense in 2013.

“He’s done everything we asked him to and has really stepped up as an end,” said Bolt. “He can use his hands and feet, we’re looking for him to make some big plays for us this year.”

Troy will look to replace four starters on the defensive line and linebacker corps. Shermane TeArt and Aaron Williams saw action last season on the defensive line. The new talent and energy has some, like Wilson, excited and eager for the start of the season.

“Folks are just going to have to come see us play,” he said. “We’re going to hit, make noise and be exciting. When they come to the stadium, they’ll be impressed. Word will get out.”

Troy will hold its final practice on Thursday in preparation for Saturday’s T-Day game which is set to start at 11 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The game will pit the offense against the defense and will run about 80 plays.