Trojans reflect on season full of adversity, look ahead to next year

Published 7:21 pm Monday, December 2, 2019

The regular season came to a close for the Trojans after they fell to Appalachian State 48-13 on Friday evening. With the loss the Trojans failed to become bowl eligible for the first time since the 2015 season.

The Trojans final record now sits at 5-7 It’s Troy’s first losing season since Neal Brown’s first year, again in 2015.

“We’re disappointed with how the season went,” head coach Chip Lindsey said on Friday night. We’ve had a lot of adversity, but hopefully this will help us get ready as we prepare for the 2020 season. We need to replace the guys we loose, which starts with recruiting.”

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The Trojans now look to the offseason where they will have to replace approximately 13 seniors that saw meaningful playing time during the season, none bigger than quarterback Kaleb Barker. The senior quarterback, coming off yet another knee surgery, led the Trojans offense all season long and played in all 12 games. Barker finished near the top nationally in touchdowns (11), passing yards (5) and points responsible for (16).

“Kaleb Barker had an unbelievable career,” Lindsey said. “He’s come back from three ACL injuries and put in a ton of work to even be able to play again. Four out of the last six weeks, he hasn’t been able to practice with us. He’s a warrior and a True Trojan. He’s a guy who always came ready to play. It’s been a joy and honor to coach him and he’s going to be very successful in his next chapter.”

The Trojans entered the season picked to finish second in the Sun Belt Eastern division behind Appalachian State. Running back BJ Smith was named the preseason offensive player of the year. Injuries put a hamper on both predictions this season. Smith injured his knee in Troy’s loss to Southern Miss and was lost for the season. He was one of three running backs to be injured for a significant amount of time. Joining him was Jabir Daughtry-Frye and at times Jamontez Woods.-

“If you look at the team coming out of spring practice it’s completely different than the team we finished with,” Lindsey said. “I thought our team lost a couple of close games early and then we got hit hard by some injuries. Our guys kept battling and we improved as the season went on. I love these guys and we never quit. I’ll always remember this group because it was my first team as a head coach.”

Lindsey made his return trip to Troy after he was a quarterback coach for the Trojans in 2010. Lindsey had big shoes to fill, filling in former head coach Neal Brown, who racked up 31 wins in the last three seasons. Lindsey was tasked with bringing along a recovering Barker at quarterback, while also trying to replace a talented group of receivers that included  Damion Willis and Deondre Douglas.

“The hardest part for me as a first-year head coach was I didn’t really know my team that well,” Lindsey said. “I came into Troy in January and had an idea of what this team was about. As the season went on, I think I got a really good sense of who we are and what we have. The good thing is we have a good group of kids that will make this fun.”

The offseason officially begun on Saturday for the Trojans. Lindsey and staff hope to bring in another strong list of recruits. The early signing period begins later this month.

“My staff and I are excited to start on next year,” Lindsey said. “The recruiting dead period is over in a couple of days and we need to finish this class off. With exams coming up, we’ll get back after it in January and try and re-build this team.”