First scrimmage done, Troy turns attention to UAB

Published 8:30 pm Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Troy University Trojans held their annual Media Day following a preseason scrimmage, and the team seemed to agree the offense did not play as well as they could have while the defense thrived.

Senior linebacker for the Trojans, Mark Wilson, said he felt the defense played a strong game Saturday.

“I actually think today went well for the defense,” Wilson said. “We came out fired up. We set the tones, which was one of the biggest things we’ve been harping on.”

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Head coach Larry Blakeney understood that both offense and defense could not do well at the same time, and was pleased with how the defense played.

“There were several turnovers,” Blakeney said. “Not all of those came from guys that would be carrying the ball against UAB, but I saw some really great effort from defense. I saw some hits on defense. I saw some people trying to strain and get to the ball. I was impressed with defensive day. I honestly believe it started with the first punt.”

For the 2014 season the Trojans are in the process of transitioning from a pass-first system to a run-first scheme of play hoping to create more movement on the field this season.

“We’ve always tried to move the ball as much as we could,” said senior offensive lineman Caleb Carbine. “We’ve always said we run the inside zone when we can run the inside zone and get our passing game going.”

Carbine also spoke about the difficulties the team faced while transition from a passing game to more physical running game.

“It’s a little different because passing is a little less strenuous,” Carbine said. “You’re not running down the field as much, so we’ve had to change up how we’ve been getting in shape.”

Carbine said the team has focused on running and blocking drills during practice in order to become more acclimated to a more physical running game.

“In practice, we’ve really put a lot of emphasis on our run/blocking drills and all that,” Carbine said. “We’ve had some good days of pass protection, so during individual periods we’ll focus on run/blocks and those drills that focus on that stuff.”

Blakeney also mentioned in his post-game conference that the team needed to take advantage of every play they could, and Wilson said he felt that was one of the biggest things the team could bring into the season.

“Like coach said, if we have an opportunity to make a play, we need to make a play,” Wilson said. “We have to make sure we execute, make sure we get off the field on third down and do the smalls things that will help us do better.”

While there was a mutual agreement between players and coaches alike that the offense did not have the strongest day during the scrimmage, Terrance Jones, a senior offensive lineman said the team had time to prepare for the season before Aug. 30 when the Trojans will face the UAB Blazers at UAB.

“We’ll have plenty of time,” Jones said. “This was the first scrimmage we had all camp. Offense is a thing where everyone has to be clicking, so everybody has to be one the same page, and when we are, we can score.”

With the Trojans starting the season off with UAB away and then coming home to face Duke the following weekend, Sept. 6, Wilson said first two games of the season could make or break the momentum for the Trojans.

“We’ve got to start off with UAB, which is always a tough game, and then we have Duke. It’ll be big for us momentum wise, because our goal is to get back to a bowl game. We’ve been fighting for it. We haven’t been in one since 2010, and we want to get back to that winning season.”