College Football Week 3: Sumrall addresses the media

Published 12:52 pm Monday, September 11, 2023

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Troy Football Coach Jon Sumrall addressed the media on Monday in his weekly press conference.

Sumrall listed the coaching staff’s weekly player awards to begin the press conference. For the week two loss at Kansas State, the Offensive Player of the Week was Chris Lewis, the Defensive Player of the Week was Javon Solomon and the Special Teams Player of the Week was Davante Ross. The Scout Offensive Player of the Week was Kyler Gibson, while TJ Jackson was the Scout Defensive Player of the Week and Keyshawn Campbell was the Scout Special Teams Player of the Week.

Jaden Palms earned the John Johnson/Nathan Harris Service Award, while Jackson Worley earned the Corey McCullers Spirit Award. Also, Tyler Cappi was Troy’s Workout Warrior of the Week.

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In regards to Jackson’s status for week three, Sumrall was noncommittal.

“He will be at practice today and then we’ll see what happens on Saturday,” Sumrall said with a smile.

Jackson was suspended at the beginning of fall camp and was reinstated before Troy’s week one game against Stephen F. Austin. The All-Sun Belt defensive end has not appeared in either of Troy’s first two games and was not listed on the week three depth chart, which was released on Monday morning.

Troy linebacker Steven Cattledge – a JUCO transfer – injured his leg against Kansas State and Sumrall said his status for this Saturday was listed as doubtful.

“I got the injury report this morning and he’s probably doubtful right now,” Sumrall said. “The X-Ray looked clean, so that’s good there. It was a lower leg injury. He’ll be following up with the doctors this morning but if had to guess today he would be out.”

Sumrall turned his attention briefly to the Kansas State and how the Trojans’ executed.

“I talked a lot last week about effort and execution,” he continued. “When we executed last week we handled our business fine. There were so many self-inflicted things that we have to clean up.

“We got beat by Kansas State – give them their credit – but we also got beat by ourselves, too. There are some guys that have played a lot of football here but there also some guys we’re going on to play that haven’t and they have to learn the details of how to do your job.”

One of the new players that stood out against Kansas State was receiver Chris Lewis. Lewis hauled in a pair of highlight reel one-handed grabs in the contest. Lewis came to Troy after starting his career at Kentucky, where Sumrall initially recruited him.

“I’ve followed Chris since he was probably a sophomore,” Sumrall recalled. “They were doing a live one-on-one tackling drill and I was there to watch a highly touted linebacker. Chris Lewis volunteered to go up against that linebacker and block him.

“I wasn’t even really there to evaluate Chris but he stood out. He has great length, good work ethic, a tough kid, good ball skills and is very smart.”

Lewis also recalled that first meeting with Sumrall.

“I really didn’t have any offers but I remember he came for one of my teammates and just watched me practice and (saw) that I was one of the receivers always first in the drills and being a team leader in the 10th grade,” Lewis said. “That day he came to me and told me, ‘I didn’t come here for you but you caught my eye and I want to give you an offer today.’ I heard from him at least 3-4 times a week, he was just consistent and I knew I could trust him.”

That trust Lewis felt from Sumrall is what led him to Troy.

“I wanted to play more and knowing Coach Sumrall – having that connection with him – was something that made me want to come,” Lewis said of his decision to transfer. “He would always check up on me. I knew our bond was way better than just football. When I decided I wanted to hit the portal I knew he would be one of the first coaches that would contact me and I knew from our previous relationship that I could trust him.”