Fall camp: Trojans begin preparations for 2016 season with first practice of fall camp
Published 3:00 am Wednesday, August 3, 2016
The Troy Trojans kicked off fall camp Tuesday with the first of 30 scheduled practices in advance of the 2016 football season.
“We had an exciting first day,” said head coach Neal Brown. “I thought our leaders led today. That is something we have talked about a bunch. I thought our communication was better. It’s day one, so we have a lot of work to do.”
The players were in shorts and t-shirts and spent most of the morning working on drills and fundamentals.
“We didn’t do a whole lot of competition things as far as offense versus defense,” Brown said. “We don’t want to get anybody injured. I thought our guys had good energy today.”
Much attention was focused on newcomer Junior Gnonkonde who transferred from North Carolina. The 6-foot, 4-inch 260-pound senior spent the practice showing the coaches what he has to offer as a defensive end.
“It was good,” Brown said. “He is a guy that is a veteran. He played a lot of games in the ACC on a team that finished runner-up last year. He looks the part. He is a guy that has a good understanding of what Coach Tony wants at the defensive end position.”
Gnonkonde fit with the existing defense, as well.
“It’s a great thing,” said Troy teammate Rashad Dillard. “As soon as he got here we instantly clicked.”
Another new face was transfer quarterback Jalen Jones. The junior comes from Monroe Junior College in 2015 and New Mexico State in 2014.
“He looks the part,” Brown said. “He is big and strong. This is only his second day here and his first practice. Ask me in a week I will probably have a better understanding of what he can do. Right now I am just trying to feel him out.”
One familiar face that took the field was junior starting quarterback Brandon Silvers. The two-year starter is focusing on consistency.
“We have 30 practices and I have to be constant in all of those,” Silvers said. “Even in the walk-through in the afternoon, I need to be communicative and not lack during any drill.”
The most noticeable injured player was Emmanuel Thompson.
“He missed the first practice,” Brown said. “He is probably going to miss at least the first two weeks. I don’t think it is something that is going to hinder him for the long term.”
The Trojans will be back on the field at 9:30 a.m. today. The Trojans will participate in two open scrimmages during camp, with the first one taking place at 11 a.m. August 13.