Troy Preview 2006
Posted Aug 8, 2006

There are seven reasons why Troy hasn't been a consistent power ... O, F, F, E, N, S and E.

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

The Trojan defense hasn't been a fluke over the last several years getting predictably rocked, at least most of the time, by the big names and coming down like a hammer against the mediocre. But the Trojans haven't been able to find any semblance of consistent offense over the last five years scoring in single digits a whopping 15 times since 2002.

The defense has had to carry things over the years, and when it hasn't been able to get the job done, it means a loss. For example, Troy is 0-13 since 2000 in games when the defense hasn't forced a turnover. This season, the offense has the potential to give the D a bit of a break.

It's no coincidence that the best offensive output in recent years meant a bowl bid in 2004, and there's a chance for this year's attack to be the best yet since the move to D-I with a wide open offense that'll use four receiver sets as well as traditional formations. The flexibility will play into the team's strength, wide receiver, with several good veterans like Smokey Hampton and Gary Banks who should shine with improved play at quarterback.

Head coach: Larry Blakeney
16th year: 119-60-1
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 27, Def. 23, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 12
Ten Best Troy Players
1. FS Sherrod Martin, Jr.
2. DE Kenny Mainor, Soph.
3. LB Marcus Richardson, Jr.
4. CB/KR Leodis McKelvin, Jr.
5. SS Brannon Condren, Sr.
6. WR Smokey Hampton, Sr.
7. RB Kenny Cattouse, Jr.
8. PK Greg Whibbs, Jr.
9. QB Omar Haugabook, Jr.
10. WR Gary Banks, Jr. 

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction: coming

9/2 Alabama State
9/9 at Florida State
9/17 at Georgia Tech
9/24 at Nebraska
9/30 at UAB
10/14 UL Monroe
10/28 North Texas
11/4 UL Lafayette
11/11 at Florida Atlantic
11/18 Arkansas State
11/25 at MTSU
12/2 at FIU

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction
: 6-5
2005 Record: 4-7

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/3 Cal Poly W 27-10
9/10 UAB L 27-7
9/17 at Missouri L 52-21
9/24 at So Carolina L 45-20
10/4 at North Texas W 13-10 
10/15 at UL Monroe L 27-3
10/22 Florida Int'l  W 18-13
10/29 at UL Laf L 31-28 OT
11/5 Florida Atlantic W 28-14
11/12 at Arkansas St L 9-3
11/26 MTSU L 17-7

Ah, quarterback. The team's Achilles heel over the last few years with little to no consistency and always lacking the type of playmaker who can carry the team to big things. Welcome to the show, JUCO transfer Omar Hougabook. A good-sized passer with a live arm, he should finally be the one to be good enough to get the offense moving.

Of course, Troy will still be known for its defense. It'll be among the best in the Sun Belt despite some key losses and a big hope for several decent prospects to turn into stars. Safeties Sherrod Martin and Brannon Condren are among the best in a big year for Sun Belt safeties. Kenny Mainor is on the verge of huge things as a speed rushing end, and lightning fast outside linebacker Marcus Richardson should become a killer. Add to the mix a great return game and above-average kicking game and Troy will be one of the conference favorites.

After looking like the potential dominator in the Sun Belt, Troy has to prove that last season's setback was a fluke. The conference is better from top to bottom, but if the offense can generate a bit more production, the Trojans could finally pull off a conference title.

The Schedule: As always, there's a nice, long road trip to start the season with four straight away games after playing Alabama State. Fortunately, the biggest Sun Belt games are at home facing UL Monroe, North Texas and UL Lafayette in the first three conference battles and with Arkansas State down the road. If Troy believes it's good enough to win the title, it has to beat teams like Florida Atlantic, MTSU and FIU away from home.

Best Offensive Player: Senior WR Smokey Hampton. This could quickly change if QB Omar Haugebook is as good as advertised or if RB Kenny Cattouse has a breakout season. Hampton is a solid veteran with good deep speed on the X. If he has a huge year, chances are the offense will be far, far better.

Best Defensive Player: Junior FS Sherrod Martin. He does a little of everything well finishing second on the team in tackles while also making play after play after play against the pass. He's a tough hitter and will be the star of the defense until all the new starters get their feet wet.

Key player to a successful season: Junior QB Omar Haugabook. If the JUCO transfer is awful, that means it's back to the rotation of Julian Foster, Carl Meadows, and Larry Dockery. The team can't survive another year without good, steady quarterback play.

The season will be a success if ... Troy wins the Sun Belt title. Just about every team is coming into the season thinking it can be the Sun Belt champs, but Troy really has a shot if the offense is a little better and with the favorable conference schedule.

Key game: November 25th at MTSU. Troy hasn't been a rock at home in Sun Belt play, but if it can just hold serve at home and come up with a win at MTSU, the trip to the New Orleans Bowl will soon follow.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Sacks: Opponents 38 for 245 yards - Troy 17 for 132 yards
- Interceptions: Opponents 14 for 124 yards - Troy 5 for 18 yards
- Troy points in the win over Cal Poly: 27 - Troy average score in the other ten games: 14.8

The Last Time Troy…
…played in a bowl game…2004 (Silicon Valley Bowl vs. Northern Illinois)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…2003 (Southeastern Louisiana)
…was shutout…2003 (North Texas)
…scored 50 points…2001 (Middle Tennessee State)
…went undefeated…1912
…won a conference title…2000 (Southland)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…1968 (Sim Byrd)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2004 (DeWhitt Betterson)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…1984 (Rufus Cox)
…had a first-round draft choice…2005 (DE Demarcus Ware)

Related Stories
Troy Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by  Aug 8, 2006
Troy Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by  Aug 8, 2006
Troy Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by  Aug 8, 2006

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