Back to the grind: Trojans begin fall camp at Veterans Memorial Stadium

Published 6:07 pm Friday, August 3, 2018

Day one of practice is in the books for the Troy Trojans. Troy began their two-week long fall camp on Friday morning inside Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The Trojans will kick off their 2018 season on September 1 when they officially open the new North End Zone facility. On Friday, the Trojans were able to practice in the shadows of the new building.

“There’s a lot of energy here, as you would expect,” said head coach Neal Brown. “We opened up today (Friday) in the stadium, just to get a game-like atmosphere on the first day of camp.”

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The Trojans have won 21 games over the last two seasons and the excitement for the program continues to rise. As for on the field, the Trojans have a long way to go, but Brown likes his team.

“We have a chance,” Brown said. “We are not game-ready right now, but I like our team, I like our enthusiasm and I like how we handle our business. We are showing discipline, we showed accountability over the summer.”

Accountability was just one success Brown believed his team achieved over the offseason.

“You check things off,” Brown said. “We had a really good winter, as good of a winter as we have had. I thought we developed some leadership over the winter. We came in the summer with coach (Rafael) Horton and his staff and I thought those guys had the best summer that we have had in four years – and I don’t think it’s close. We are in the best shape we have been coming into a fall camp and we are the healthiest we have been in a fall camp.”

Being healthy on Friday was a far cry from when the Trojans were last on the field for the T-Day scrimmage. During the spring, the Trojans had numerous players go down with injury.

Although the Trojans appear to be healthy heading into fall camp, there are still some players nursing ailments, including corner Blace Brown and running back and kick returner Jabir Daughtry-Frye. Both players wore yellow jerseys in practice.

“Those guys in yellow jerseys are guys that had surgery some time in the spring,” Brown said. “The guys that had it right after the bowl game have been cleared with the exception of Blace. We are just being cautious. If we were to line up and play, everybody that we had on the field would be cleared to play. We have four weeks until we get to September 1. I feel good about those guys in yellow being ready to go.”

During the first practice on day one, quarterbacks Kaleb Barker and Sawyer liked the way the offense and the team looked.

“Like most first days, there are things to work on,” Barker said. “Myself, I need to work on some small things. As a whole, we meshed pretty well. We had some guys in the wrong place, but for the most part, I thought we did pretty well.”

“I thought everybody had fun with it today,” Smith said. “Everybody is kind of loose. This wasn’t our first practice. We have been practicing pretty much since January. Everybody had fun today and there are a lot of people looking good.”

As for the offense, Smith believed they set the bar high on day one.

“I think this is probably one of our best first days since I have been here,” Smith said. “We have a lot of athletes. It’s easy for me and Kaleb to look good at quarterback with how many athletes we have around us. It’s pretty easy to go out there and have fun with them and throw the ball around.”

At the end of day one, coach Brown announced the additions of two late signees in freshman running back Trevon Woofolk and junior wide receiver Daniel Crowell.

Fall camp will run through Saturday, August 18. Troy will hold two scrimmages on Saturday, August 11 and Friday, August 17.