Long bus ride home fuels Troy players to get better quickly

Published 8:39 pm Monday, September 1, 2014

Google Maps says the trip from Legion Field in Birmingham to the Troy campus takes two hours and sixteen minutes. However, for the players and coaches of the Troy Trojans the 141-mile trek home seemed to last forever.

Troy was thumped 48-10 by rival UAB Saturday in the season opener for both teams. The Blazers beat Troy in every phase of the game, and at nearly every position on the field.

UAB rolled up 489 yards of offense, and held the Trojans to just 272. Of Troy’s 272 yards, 75 came on the first drive of the game and 41 on the game’s first play – a short pass from Brandon Silvers to Chandler Worthy that Worthy sprung for the big gain.

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As the team buses hit I-65 south, Silvers put on his headphones and found the most comfortable spot he could locate.

“I went on the floor and put my headphones on,” Silvers said. “I didn’t really speak. That was a bad trip.”

Despite a police escort, the trip home seemed to last for days. Offensive lineman Tommy Stephens said the feeling is one he never wants to experience again.

“It was not a fun trip at all,” Stephens said. “I don’t like to lose, and that ride home, those two hours, gave me time to think. I just thought the whole way home about how I can help this team get better and be the best I possibly can. It made me look in the mirror and ask myself ‘What can I do?’ We have to continue to work hard in the weight room, be fundamentally sound in assignments and do all I can.”

On the trip home, thunderstorms boomed overhead and lightning filled the sky. As the rain began to fall, Chandler Worthy sat in his seat and stared blankly out the window.

He didn’t talk the entire way home.

“I just rode home staring out the window trying to think of what we can do right to prepare for Duke this week,” Worthy said. We have to get ready for the next game. I didn’t sleep much coming home.”

Head coach Larry Blakeney said Troy can improve and get better, but will have to become a lot more consistent.

“We did a few good things, Blakeney said. “We did a pretty good job punting the ball. The first snap was a little bit of a disappointment. I don’t know how he got it out. We did alright there. We had our moments in other areas, but nothing consistent enough to win a game. You can’t be hit or miss in any level of football and win games against good teams. And I think UAB is a good team.”

Troy hosts Duke on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy.