Trojans must focus on game
Published 3:00 am Wednesday, October 8, 2014
By Devin Smith
Homecoming week is a time when potential distractions are abundant for a football program, and that coupled with the announcing of coach Larry Blakeney’s retirement could be a lot to overcome for the Troy Trojans when New Mexico State comes to town Saturday.
Despite the possible distractions and a 0-5 record, Blakeney and his Trojans are confident that they can still compete with any team on the schedule and plan to notch the first win of the season this weekend.
One place where Troy may be looking to take advantage of the Aggies is with the rushing attack, where New Mexico State has allowed an egregious 327.5 yards a game.
Offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield thinks the team can find ways to make plays with the ground game, but it’s not as simple as the numbers may lead you to believe.
“I do think there are some chances in the run game, but I do think the stats are skewed a bit,” Edenfield said.
In the majority of games this season the Aggies have seen few looks from a passing attack, with several teams hardly throwing the ball against them.
“If people run the ball all night and don’t throw any passes you are going to have bad rushing statistics,” Edenfield said.
The lack of passing attempts on New Mexico State has helped the passing defense look dominant, whose 118.5 yards per game clip is good for third best in the nation.
While there may or may not be an opportunity to exploit the Aggies defense with the combined efforts of Brandon Burks, Jordan Chunn and Khary Franklin, that isn’t necessarily a key factor in the game preparation.
“I would love to have a great game running the ball, because our passing game is going really good,” Edenfield said. “We will try to get them the ball some, but I think we’re going to do what we do. We’ve got a good plan, and I think we’ll be ready to go.”
If Troy does decide to pass more Saturday, all-conference tackle Terrence Jones thinks his team took a step forward in that aspect during the break the Trojans had over the last week.
“We did a lot of fundamentals, and I think we got a lot better in the run game,” Jones said. “We improved it, and we changed things up a little bit and it seemed to work. Hopefully, it will this Saturday and we can get a win.”
While New Mexico State’s defense has struggled prevent opposing teams from lighting up the scoreboard at 36.7 points allowed per game, the Trojans have been even less impressive with 41.6 average.
One spot that show signs of life in Troy’s game against Louisiana-Monroe prior to the bye week was the defensive line, which dominated most of the game.
Defensive coordinator went as far as to claim it was the best performance by the line since he returned to Troy last year, and he think they have done a good job continuing to improve during the time off.
They will need to look the part on Saturday in order to stop the Aggies, particularly in order to disrupt quarterback Tyler Rogers and his receiving core.
“He’s very efficient,” Bolt said. “They’re a spread offense. It’s a lot like our offense, and they’re fast. They want to get up there and snap it and run. They’re not very complicated, but they’re good at what they do. They key is the quarterback, and they’ve got some good wideouts. “
Tyler Roberts has been a key to the Trojans defensive production this season, and he isn’t concerned about Rogers or a New Mexico State run game that accumulates just over 165 yards a game.
“I don’t consider what their strength is coming in or what their strength is now, I just consider what I can do this game to help our team do better,” Roberts said. “I think that’s the same mentality that everyone on the defensive line has, we don’t really care about someone’s hype. That doesn’t affect how we play; we’re going to do our best no matter what.”
The Trojans and Aggies are slated for a 2:04 p.m. Kickoff in Veteran’s Memorial Stadium Saturday, Oct. 11.