Troy pushes the pace as fall camp continues

Published 12:30 pm Friday, August 4, 2023

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The Troy Trojans put on shells – helmets and shoulder pads – for the first time during fall camp on Friday, which meant the pads were popping for the first time, as well.

Troy coach Jon Sumrall liked the give and take he saw from his team on Friday.

“I thought at the start, the defense got the better end of the team period of practice and I thought the offense finished the practice stronger, so it was a little give and take,” Sumrall said. “That’s a good thing. When you’re a head coach you don’t want to see one side of the ball just take the whole practice. There was a little back and forth. The defense started out pads popping and ganging up on the run and swarming to the ball and I felt like the offense did a really good job creating some explosive plays later in practice.”

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Sumrall said that the things that have improved the most since day one has been the tempo of practice.

“I think our tempo has improved. On day one, it felt almost like we were in an OTA mode still and not a practice mode,” Sumrall said. “Yesterday and today, particularly today, to start I felt like the pace and the pursuit to the ball (on defense) and the finish of the plays on offense was better.”

Running back Jordon Ingram (15) picks up yardage during practice.

Senior quarterback Gunnar Watson has been cited as being a player that has stepped up in a leadership role this season. Watson said that it has as much to do with the players around him as anything else.

“I think that to do that you have to have people around you to (be leaders) with you,” Watson said. “So, I think the other guys are stepping up big like (Clayton Ollendieck), Deshon Stoudemire, Eli (Russ) and Deyunkrea (Lewis) and some other guys. I think they’re all helping me do that. As an offense, we have some good leadership right now.”

Sumrall said that he wants to see both sides of the ball finishing practice better as the Trojans move into week two.

“We have to do a better job off finishing practice the right way,” he said. “It’s easy to do that when you’re fresh and not as easy to do it later on in the practice. You can do all you want in the summer, conditioning and all, but when you put the shoulder pads on that’s a different deal. I think our guys have to get them conditioning and in shape, while also being smart tough and not dumb tough as we work to get ourselves into better shape.”

Watson said he wants to see the offense playing faster as a whole.

“I think we just need to play faster and get to the ball quicker and get it snapped quicker,” Watson said. “We can put more pressure on the defense like that.”

The Trojans will practice four days next week with practices Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. All practices will be in the morning, starting at 9:40 a.m., and the Aug. 12 practice will be the first scrimmage of the fall.