Finally Here: Trojans eager to begin the first week of college football season against North Carolina State
Published 3:00 am Tuesday, September 1, 2015
When the calendar flipped to Monday the Trojans at long last made it to Game Week.
“It’s finally here. I think our guys are ready. They are tired of hitting each other and this is a tremendous challenge for us in week one going to Raleigh playing North Carolina State, a group that I thought was probably the hottest team in the country at the end of last year,” said Trojan head coach Neal Brown. “They play extremely well on both sides of the ball. They probably played their best game in a complete victory, where I thought they completely dominated against Central Florida.”
The biggest challenge for Brown and the Trojans this Saturday may come on the defensive side of the ball. The young Trojan defense will be matched up against one of the leading offenses in the county, led by senior and Heisman trophy candidate Jacoby Brissette at quarterback.
“When you talk about North Carolina State it starts with their quarterback Jacoby Brissett,” Brown said. “He is a Heisman Trophy candidate. He is a guy that is a dual threat, big physical runner that can also throw it and is extremely accurate. He threw the ball really well … at the conclusion of last season.”
Brissett will lead an offense that can beat you in many different ways. Whether throwing to one of their talented receivers or using the running game, the Wolfpack offense has the ability and the depth to be dangerous against anybody.
“They were one of the most balanced offenses in the country last year. They are going to start two freshmen. The true freshman (Nyheim) Hines can really fly. He was a national recruit and a big time player,” Brown said. “They’re also going to start a tackle that we recruited (Will Richardson) to Kentucky. He is a really fine player and I know he will jump in there and do a really good job.”
The Trojans entered fall camp with a lot of question marks, especially on the offensive side of the ball. With a lot of young talent needed to play pivotal positions, players on offense are expected and needed to play above their heads this weekend to be successful.
The Trojans released their depth chart on Monday morning with a few surprises. The biggest one came at the receiver position where Emmanuel Thompson and Charles Henderson alumni John Johnson were named starters for this Saturday’s game.
“They were the most consistent,” Brown said. “They did the things right off the field and on the field. They paid more attention to detail and they won the opportunity to start this week.”
Offensive Coordinator Kenny Edenfield believes these guys earned their spot on the field but they took the job due to hard work and determination.
“I think more than anything they have been more consistent on the little things. Emmanuel has played a lot of plays. He has taken the opportunity with some guys that are banged up and taken advantage. He has tried to do the little things and paying attention to detail.”
Ever since Brown stepped foot on campus he preached that his team will play and do everything in an up tempo manner. After practicing for it all summer and into fall camp, the Trojans hope to implement that strategy for the first time as they travel to North Carolina on Saturday.
“Communication is vital no matter where you’re playing. I think it’s going to be critical for our offense to keep the crowd out of the game. We have to get first downs. You talk about having tempo, and you need to get first downs … If we are not being successful it’s going to be hard to tempo. I think that especially in the early part of the season when things get into shape, it could be a big factor in those games.”
The Brown era at Troy will officially kick off at 5 p.m. Saturday in Raleigh and the Trojans hope to be playing with a lot of confidence.
“It’s hard to speak on confidence before you actually play a game. If you want to talk about trust, I trust them,” Brown said. “The guys that we are going to roll out there to play, I trust them. They have done what we have asked him to do. I am going to be confident in their ability to go out and execute. Our game plan will be simple as most teams are early in the season. I want our guys to play and not be worried about making mistakes. I want them to go out there and play and grow as we continue.”