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2007 Troy Preview

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 24, 2007


Preview 2007 Troy Trojans

Troy Trojans

Preview 2007


By Pete Fiutak

- 2007 Troy Preview | 2007 Troy Offense Preview | 2007 Troy Defense Preview
-
2007 Troy Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Troy Preview 

Last year was good, this year should be better.

Overall, the Sun Belt has improved with seemingly every team loaded with experience, good defenses, and emerging offenses. Even so, the defending Sun Belt champion (fine, co-Sun Belt champions, but Troy beat Middle Tennessee) will be the heavy favorite to not just repeat, but be far better.

Head coach: Larry Blakeney
17th year: 128-64-1
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 24, Def. 26, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 20
Ten Best Troy Players
1. QB Omar Haugabook, Sr.
2. CB/KR Leodis McKelvin, Sr.
3. DE Kenny Mainor, Jr.
4. LB Boris Lee, Soph.
5. WR Gary Banks, Jr.
6. DT Chris Bradwell, Sr.
7. LB Marcus Richardson, Sr.
8. S Sherrod Martin, Jr.
9. FS Tavares Williams, Jr.
10. RB Kenny Cattouse, Sr.

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
7-5

Sept. 1

at Arkansas

Sept. 8

at Florida

Sept. 14

Oklahoma State

Sept. 22

at UL Lafayette

Sept. 29

UL Monroe

Oct. 6

at FIU

Oct. 20

North Texas

Oct. 27

at Arkansas State

Nov. 3

at Georgia

Nov. 10

at Western Ky

Nov. 20

Middle Tennessee

Dec. 1

Florida Atlantic

2006 Schedule
2006 Record: 8-
5

9/2 Alabama State W 38-0
9/9 at Florida State L 24-17
9/17 at Georgia Tech L 35-20
9/24 at Nebraska L 56-0
9/30 at UAB L 21-3
10/14 UL Monroe W 24-19
10/28 North Texas W 14-6
11/4 UL Lafayette W 42-28
11/11 at Fla Atlantic W 24-17
11/18 Arkansas State L 33-26
11/25 at MTSU W 21-20
12/2 at FIU W 26-13
12/22 New Orleans Bowl
Rice  W 41-17

The Trojans started off 1-4 taking their non-conference beatings in September, and then they had two weeks off, started the Sun Belt season, and found a way to win every close game except for home 33-26 battle with Arkansas State. One great drive to beat Middle Tennessee, an easy win over a depleted FIU, and a jaw-dropping 41-17 shocker over Rice in the New Orleans Bowl set the tone for the off-season, and has set expectations sky-high.

The offense begins and ends with Omar Haugabook, the JUCO transfer quarterback who immediately transformed the Troy attack from one of the worst in the country to just plain mediocre. He’s back along with all his top receiving weapons and all the running backs. However, four starters on the offensive line are gone meaning Haugabook will have to be even sharper.

Troy originally made a name for itself on defense, and things dropped off considerably finishing seventh in the eight team league in total defense, which made last year’s run to the title all the more stunning. Eight starters are back and should be better, even though things weren’t all that bad before.

The Trojans weren’t great at any one thing outside of getting into the backfield, but they weren’t glaringly bad in any one spot, either. With a tremendous recruiting to add more depth, a fantastic group of returning starters, and Haugabook, this is the class of the Sun Belt. Now there’s no room for anything less than another title.

What to watch on offense … Will Haugabook get time? The offensive line didn’t do a great job at protecting the passer last year, and that was a veteran front five struggling against the lousy Sun Belt pass rushes. While Haugabook is mobile, tough, and great at making plays on the move, he can’t afford to get knocked out. The new young line with only one returning starter has to keep the star upright.

What to watch on defense … The defensive front seven should buy real estate in opposing backfields. Kenny Mainor is an undersized, but unstoppable end who should be the Sun Belt’s best pass rusher. The rest of the Trojans are also able to make plays behind the line with an aggressive style that dictates the action. Now all the big plays have to result in more takeaways. Also watch out for the coaching staff to do everything possible to get all its great defensive backs on the field at the same time. There’s too much talent in the defensive backfield.

The team will be far better if … it hangs on to the ball. The offense wasn’t nearly as productive as it could’ve been with drive after drive halted by turnovers. Haugabook got better at ball security over the second half of the season, but there was still a consistent stream of turnovers. Troy didn’t go a game without a turnover. Cut the mistakes down just a little bit, and the points will follow.

The Schedule: The opening three non-conference games are certainly interesting going to Arkansas and Florida and hosting Oklahoma State, and then it’s on … at UL Lafayette. While the late season battle with Middle Tennessee will likely be the Sun Belt game of the year, the Trojans can set the tone with a win over the Ragin’ Cajuns. A date at Arkansas State will also make or break Sun Belt title hopes, but the rest of the top conference games are at home.

Best Offensive Player: Senior QB Omar Haugabook. While he earned Sun Belt Player of the Year honors, he threw too many interceptions and didn’t start to turn things up a few notches until the end of the year. He can do it all with good rushing skills and a nice arm, and now he should be even better after a year of experience

Best Defensive Player: Senior CB Leodis McKelvin. Take your pick among great Trojan defenders for the honor of being the best with DE Kenny Mainor, linebackers Boris Lee and Marcus Richardson, and safeties Sherrod Martin and Tavares Williams all likely to earn All-Sun Belt honors. Heck, even former Florida State defensive lineman Chris Bradwell might be an all-star. McKelvin is a rarity; a shut-down corner who can tackle. .

Key player to a successful season: The entire offensive line. Only one starter returns, and while Chris Jamison is fine, he’s not an all-star. The line will be big, but there aren’t any veteran reserves with the right starting five combination not likely to be figured out for a while.

The season will be a success if ... Troy wins the Sun Belt title again. The defense is too strong, Haugabook is too good and the program too experience to reasonably shoot for anything less. It’s not going to be easy with four road games in a five-game stretch over the second half of the season, but the talent is there to fight through it.

Key game: Nov. 20 vs. Middle Tennessee. It was the Sun Belt title game last year and it could be again. The road trip to UL Lafayette could be just as important early on, but the Blue Raiders and Trojans should be the class of the league.

2006 Fun Stats: 
- Troy first quarter scoring: 44 – Troy second quarter scoring: 106
- Interception return average: Opponents 14 yards – Troy 1.9 yards
- Punt return average: Troy 11.1 yards – Opponents 5 yards

  

Related Stories
2007 Troy Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 24, 2007
2007 Troy Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 24, 2007
2007 Troy Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 24, 2007








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