Trojans head to the drawing board with 0-5 season

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, October 1, 2014

By Devin Smith

When the Troy Trojans traveled to face the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks Saturday with an understanding that it marked the beginning of a new chapter for this football season.

However, the Trojans’ evening didn’t go as hoped, and a 22-20 loss to ULM put them even further into uncharted territory with a season record of 0-5 sending head coach Larry Blakeney and his team back to the drawing board entering a bye week.

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“The two teams were close to equal,” Blakeney said. “I thought we fought pretty hard and had a chance to win the game. We just couldn’t get it done. With the open week we will try and get some work done, get them some rest and get them caught up in their academics, and then start our normal game week on Sunday at one o’clock.”

Although Troy came up two points shy of a win in Louisiana, it was obvious to the coaches and players that the team and continued to stay positive and in unison despite the winless record.

“The kids were trying to step up and bring other guys along, as far as motivation,” Blakeney said. “’Playing together’ is easy to phrase. I think any time you compete, as a team, hopefully there is a sense of playing together.”

The positive attitude of the team while in the midst of the losing streak has been something that offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield has mentioned multiple times this season, and he said he thinks he knows how the team is able to stay so positive despite holding a losing record.

“I think when they see it on film they go ‘Dang, he’s right. There it is,’” Edenfield said. “In the game sometimes it’s hard to know that. We try to show them all the positives, and then we try to show them a few of the negative plays where we could have done better and what we have to improve on. I think that’s what keeps them positive throughout the week.”

The return of Brandon Silvers at quarterback boosted the confidence of the Trojans as well. Silvers had a three-touchdown performance Saturday that dispelled any concerns the staff might have had about Silvers’ condition after being out for a concussion.

“I was worried to death that he wasn’t ready because of the injury,” Blakeney said. “But he showed no signs of anything. He looked very comfortable and threw the ball on time, threw the deep ball better. He really played a good game for us.”

While Silvers seemed to be in mid-season form on Saturday, his protection was far from consistent while allowing their quarterback to be sacked on five different occasions.

“I don’t think we played our best game this past week,” Edenfield said. “One thing their defense creates is a lot of one-on-one matchups with blitz looks. That’s part of what they do and we knew that. We didn’t have busted assignments, we just got beat a few times at the line of scrimmage whether we didn’t use good technique or we were set a little wide.”

Ultimately, there isn’t one big fix that can change the identity of this offense, but there is no lack of effort in the players to figure it out, Edenfield said.

“They’re battling, they’re trying hard, and they want to win. Good things happen to people when you work hard enough,” Edenfield said.

While the offensive line returned home with more questions than answers, the defensive line dominated against the Warhawks Saturday. Defensive coordinator Wayne Bolt made a bold statement about their play on Saturday during Monday’s press conference.

“The defensive line probably played as good as they have since I’ve been here,” Bolt said.

While Bolt has only been with the Trojans for two years, he still expressed his enthusiasm for the defensive players’ success Saturday.

“I think it’s something to build on, and the key was getting better,” Bolt said. “We got off the field a lot better on third down. Although, we had two chances on that last drive to get off and get the ball back, but we couldn’t get it done. They played like we expect them to play, and that’s the truth.”

Now with their backs against the wall, Troy will have a week to regroup before hosting New Mexico State Oct. 11 for Troy’s Homecoming celebration. “Well any time that you can get a little rest it’s good,” Blakeney said concerning the Saturday off. “We are not an injured football team, but I think the rest with where we’re at is a good time to recuperate and try to figure out where we are.”