Blakeney ‘excited’ about new-look Sun Belt, still concerned about rule changes

Published 12:46 pm Monday, July 15, 2013

Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said at Sun Belt Conference Media Day on Monday that he is excited about the new teams entering the league.

“I think certainly Texas State and Georgia State will add a lot and when you get into the next year with Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, Idaho and New Mexico State coming in, there’s a lot to be excited about,” he said.

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“It will be fun if we go out and perform as Troy Trojans should, to watch the league grow and compete against other leagues and hopefully get to the point where we have a championship game one day.”

Texas State and Georgia State begin play in the Sun Belt Conference in 2013 while Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, Idaho and New Mexico State will join in 2014.

“At the end of the day though, I’m not worried about who is leaving or who is coming in, I’m worried about that team in Troy, Alabama,” Blakeney said.

Rule changes such as the “defenseless player” rule are a cause of concern for Blakeney however.

“The rules of college football have helped the offense. The fact that you better not hit that quarterback above the numbers and all this stuff that’s coming in this year with the targeting and defenseless players. I’m not smart enough to define this stuff much less throw a flag on it,” Blakeneny said.

“I’m concerned about where we are in college football, period. I’m all for protecting players, but I also think there should be some real thought put into how many officials we have on there field, who they are and who is up there in the box calling the shots (instant replay booth). I mean, I dont’ want my granddaddy up there and that’s what we’ve got right now.”

Last season, Troy had two players suspended for different violations in the same game.

De’von Terry was suspended for “unnecessary roughness” after he made a high hit to the head or neck area of an opposing player against Arkansas State.

Brynden Trawick was suspended for a “hit against a defenseless player” in the same game in which he made contact with the head or neck of an opposing player.

Neither player was ejected from the game but Blakeney was very vocal at the time about the decision to suspend both players.

“I’m all for protecting the players, I’ve said that before, but I think we need to take a serious look at what we’re doing,” Blakeney said at media day. “I think the rules that they’ve implemented are hurting the defenses and not helping the game.”

Beginning in 2013, a player can be ejected for targeting and contacting a defenseless player.