Blakeney, seniors discuss emotional last game of season, era
Published 3:00 am Tuesday, November 25, 2014
The mood was one of a somber optimism Monday morning at head coach Larry Blakeney’s final Monday press conference at Troy.
Somber because for the last time on Saturday, Blakeney will don the headset and take the helm when the Trojans finish their season against UL-Lafayette. Somber because Blakeney’s last game also falls on senior day — doubly emotional for the seniors at Troy. Somber because the future is so uncertain for Troy football.
“It’s got a chance to come to an end,” offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield said. “I’d love to finish on a great note. It’s what we’ve talked to the guys about. We’ve played better the last few weeks. We’d like to top it off with a good win here.”
But players and coaches were also optimistic on Monday.
Optimistic because a slam-dunk of a hire could return Troy football to the prestige it once enjoyed. Optimistic because the future presents a new opportunity for players and coaches. And that opportunity is one they are all ecstatic to take.
“It is exciting,” junior wide receiver KD Edenfield said. “Always just being that first senior class of the next coach. I just want to finish up strong with my career. Go to a bowl game hopefully with all of these seniors next year.”
It is no secret that this will be a tough, emotional week for Troy football. Between Blakeney coaching his last game and seniors playing their last in an already tough matchup against UL-Lafayette, Blakeney admits there has been no time for anything to sink in yet.
“It hadn’t hit me yet,” Blakeney said. “There’s a little sadness but a lot of good things about what is going on here.”
But despite Saturday marking his last day in charge at Troy, Blakeney hardly plans on being disconnected from the program.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with the position or anything like that,” Blakeney said. “I hope that they’re able to hire someone that they want and that’s capable to come in here and take this thing to another level. I’ll be around if he (Athletic Director John Hartwell) needs me.”
And for seniors at Troy, who will receive a proper send-off before kickoff Saturday, the bond between teammates as well as with Blakeney will be hard to relinquish when the scoreboard clock hits doubles zeroes.
“Honestly, it really hadn’t hit me as far as the emotional side, but I know I am going to miss those guys that I created a bond with and these coaches and everybody prior to now,” senior linebacker Wayland Coleman-Dancer said. “We established a lot of memories and it’s something we’re going to miss when it’s all said and done.”
And for coaches and seniors alike, there could be no better way to end the season and the Blakeney era than by hoisting their head coach over their shouldhers after handing a loss to Sun Belt top dog UL-Lafayette.
“It’s a pleasure to be where we are,” Coleman-Dancer said. “I know I can speak for a lot of these seniors when I say it is definitely an honor to be in a situation and even have an opportunity to go out here and play Lafayette and get a win.”