Troy football sets practice dates, T-Day set for April 20

Published 7:07 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Fresh off its third straight 10-win season, Troy football has set its dates for the first spring practice under head coach Chip Lindsey. The Trojans open spring camp on March 19 and will host their annual T-Day Spring Game at noon on April 20 at The Vet.

“I’m really looking forward to getting out on the field and getting to know our players,” Lindsey said. “We’ve been focused hard on closing out the recruiting class, and the staff has been on the road a lot since coming on board. We’ll have a month to prepare for spring practice and really evaluate our players on film before we get them on the field.”

Troy, which is one of just eight programs nationally with at least 31 wins over the last three seasons, returns 15 offensive and defensive starters from last year’s squad that finished 10-3 and defeated Buffalo in the Dollar General Bowl.

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Offensively, the Trojans return a wealth of talent with four starters along the line, first team running back B.J. Smith, an explosive playmaker in Tray Eafford at receiver and the quarterback duo of Kaleb Barker and Sawyer Smith.

The Trojans must replace three All-Sun Belt receivers from last season in Damion Willis, Deondre Douglas and Sidney Davis. However, the addition of top JUCO receivers Reggie Todd and Khalil McClain should ease the transition.

The quarterback room will be crowded with five scholarship signal callers on the roster for the spring. Joining Barker and Smith will be redshirt freshman Gunnar Watson in addition to former Vanderbilt quarterback Jacob Free and true freshman Gavin Screws.

“We have to do a great job getting all the quarterbacks some reps,” Lindsey said. “At some point we’re going to have to have a pecking order, but the big thing for us is getting them reps early so we can get a good evaluation.”

On the other side of the ball, Troy returns eight All-Sun Belt performers in addition to Freshman All-America linebacker Carlton Martial. The Trojans ranked third nationally in turnovers forced last season while finishing 10th in sacks and 16th in tackles for loss.

“Our system is going to be similar, but we will still be installation heavy in the spring,” Lindsey said. “You’re always trying to start from scratch in the spring and build from there because it’s a different year. This year will be different from last year just like it was different from 2017; different areas of the game are emphasized because your roster is always evolving with different strengths.”

Troy is allotted 15 practices during the spring, and the Trojans will hit the field every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for five weeks in March and April.

“This is an opportunity to get a fresh start with some guys and for others to redefine their roles on this team,” Lindsey said. “I’m looking forward to getting on the field and seeing our guys compete.”