Trojans look for depth at center as spring practices continue

Published 12:27 pm Thursday, March 9, 2023

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The Troy Trojans wrapped up day two of spring practices on Thursday and the Trojan coaches continue to like what they’re seeing.

On day one, Troy coach Jon Sumrall was pleased with his team’s energy and that carried over into the second day of practice. While the Trojans are replacing a number of starters from last year’s historic defense, that didn’t stop the 2023 Trojans from earning a number of interceptions in Thursday’s team drills, as well.

“I think it was similar to day one, I thought we had really good energy but we have to clean up some of those turnovers offensively,” Sumrall said. “Some of that was good defense but some of it was bad offense. We’re putting in a little more each day, installation wise. The tempo and pace we’re practicing at is light years ahead of last year, though.”

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As some of the new faces on the team continue to acclimate to the “Trojan Way,” Sumrall is enjoying seeing his returning leaders take charge.

“We lost a lot of production (from last year) but we have some exciting new players out there,” he said. “They haven’t done anything (here) yet and they have to learn how to do things the right way. I’m really enjoying our returning leaders lead how we do things here daily.”

Jabre Barber (5) picks up yardage during spring practices. (Photo by Josh Boutwell)

One of the positions that will be under scrutiny from the coaching staff is center. Last year’s starting center, Jake Andrews, is currently preparing for the NFL Draft and every player on the line will get an opportunity there.

“Everyone will snap on the offensive line at some point,” Sumrall said. “We’ll roll guys through there. Eli Russ (from Oklahoma State) has been there a decent amount, (Georgia Military transfer) Boaz Stanley and (Tyler Junior College transfer) MarKendrick Bell have been out there some.

“You’ll see a lot of different guys get an opportunity at it. Russ has done it in college games, so he has that experience, but it’s really about creating the depth and versatility to make sure we have the best five we can on the field.”

The Trojans will take a break from the practice field for Spring Break next week and return March 21 as spring practices will heat up.