2008 Troy Preview - Offense
Troy C Danny Franks
Troy C Danny Franks
Posted May 20, 2008

CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - Troy Trojan Offense

Troy Trojans

Preview 2008 - Offense

- 2008 CFN Troy Preview | 2008 Troy Offense
- 2008 Troy Defense |
2008 Troy Depth Chart
2007 CFN Troy Preview | 2006 CFN Troy Preview 

What you need to know:
Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin might be off to Auburn, but Neal Brown isn't exactly going to change things up to the wishbone. The spread, four-wide set will stay in place. Star QB Omar Haugabook is gone, but Jamie Hampton is a good runner leading a decent group of quarterback options. There might not be a sure-thing No. 1 running back or receiver to count on, but there are plenty of good options to work with and good young talents waiting to shine through. The key is the line. Easily the best in the Sun Belt, it's big, talented, and full of experience with six significant starters returning.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Tanner Jones
13-27, 161 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: DuJuan Harris
82 carries, 372 yds, 0 TD
Receiving: Jerrel Jernigan
30 catches, 337 yds, 3 TD

Star of the offense: Senior OT Dion Small
Player who has to step up and become a star: Sophomore QB Jamie Hampton
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore RB DuJuan Harris
Best pro prospect: Small
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Small, 2) OT Chris Jamison, 3) C Danny Franks
Strength of the offense: Offensive line, all-around skill depth
Weakness of the offense:
All-around skill experience, a sure-thing No. 1 WR & RB


Projected Starter: In the battle to replace Omar Haugabook, sophomore Jamie Hampton stepped up and became the best option in the four-way race this spring. The 6-2, 193-pounder saw a little bit of time last year completing six of 11 passes for 45 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and he ran for 161 yards averaging 6.2 yards per carry. The fastest and most athletic of the quarterbacks, he brings another dimension to the attack while also turning into a solid passer.

Projected Top Reserves: Walk-on Tanner Jones turned into a worthwhile backup seeing time in eight games completing 13 of 27 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, while also rushing for a score. The 6-0, 194-pound sophomore is the likely No. 2 man in the mix after showing promise this spring, but he doesn't have the upside or athleticism of Hampton.

Richmond transfer Levi Brown was supposed to step in and become a major factor for the attack, but he'll be the third option. With good speed and 6-3, 215-pound size, he has decent skills but could end up switching positions to be used as a possible receiver.

True freshman Corey Robinson is the dark-horse. Kentucky's Mr. Football set national high school record with 5,872 yards and 91 touchdowns and has the speed and skills to step and and start on day one. The 6-1, 190-pounder is an accurate passer who'll be the starter someday, but he might be kept under wraps for a year with so many other options.

Watch Out For ... Hampton. There's no replacing Haugabook, but with a good line in front of him and a solid receiving corps in place, Hampton could be excellent.
Strength: Options. Hampton established himself after spring ball, but that doesn't mean the coaching staff isn't going to get others involved. Jones, Brown, and Robinson could all see a little time.
Weakness: They're not Haugabook. While he threw too many interceptions, Haugabook was a special player who carried the offense, and occasionally the team, on his back. He was a true leader who can't instantly be replaced. Now the team will see what a difference maker he really was.
Outlook: Any worries about the post-Haugabook era have been settled a little bit with Hampton more than good enough to keep the music going. With so many good backups, there will be a lot of developing and plenty of movement on the depth chart all season long. In the end, it'll all come down to the most consistent players. Move the chains, don't turn the ball over, see time. It's just that simple.
Rating: 5.5

Running Backs

Projected Starters
Any fears about the loss of leading rusher Kenny Cattouse were alleviated thanks to a great spring from sophomore DuJuan Harris, a very quick, very tough 5-8, 181-pound speedster who finished third on the team with 372 yards on 82 carries, and caught five passes for 29 yards. While he wasn't much of a gamebreaker last year, he has the speed to hit the home run every time he touches the ball. Can he be a workhorse? That'll be the big question mark.

Projected Top Reserves: Ready to make an immediate impact will be Maurice Greer, a 5-11, 205-pound JUCO transfer who signed with Colorado after earning Colorado Player of the Year honors rushing for 2,186 yards and 30 scores his senior season. He was considered a big-time recruit for the Buffs, but he ended up at Garden City CC. He has the quickness and the toughness to be the featured back early on.

5-10, 184-pound senior Xavier Moreland has mostly been a special teamer and started out as a defensive back, but he'll start to see a little more work after getting just eight carries for 35 yard. He has too much speed to keep off the field, and after a good spring, he showed he has the talent to become a regular in the rotation.

On the way is Chris Anderson, a 5-9, 190-pound true freshman from Fort Lauderdale who earned second team All-State honors after a 1,689-yard, 20 touchdown season. A track star with elite speed, he had a shot to go to several big-time schools like Georgia, Wisconsin and Kansas State.

Former linebacker Matt Nolan is a walk-on who'll get time as a blocking back when the offense uses a fullback. He ran for 1,845 yards and 32 touchdowns in two years in high school, but he's not likely to see too many carries. He'll mostly be a blocking back.

Watch Out For ... Greer and Anderson. Harris and Moreland were great this off-season and proved they could handle the workload, but the talent upgrade is coming with Greer and Anderson about to make a huge impact.
Strength: Depth. There might not be a ton of proven production returning. but there will be four good backs to carry the load whenever needed. There will be plenty of chances to spread around the wealth.
Weakness: Experience. Harris saw a little work last season, but that's about it as far as proven production. It could take a little while before the rotation is figured out.
Outlook: Cattouse and Haugabook combined for 288 carries last season, and while QB Jamie Hampton will see his share of rushing work, the ground game will rely more on a few backs rather than feature just one guy. However, if the coaching staff finds the hot hand, or legs, it'll stick with him. Cattouse will be missed, but there's more talent in this year's backfield.
Rating: 5.5


Projected Starters
Appearing to be ready to grab a bigger role in the offense is 5-10, 175-pound sophomore Jerrel Jernigan, the team's leading returning receiver who caught 30 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns highlighted by an 11-catch, 102-yard, two touchdown day against Georgia. The former high school quarterback made the quick transition as a true freshman and now will be used in a variety of different ways to get the ball in his hands at the H position.

Taking over for All-Sun Belt performer Gary Banks at the outside X spot will be senior Kennard Burton, a flash of lightning who caught 18 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns. He's only 5-7 and 167 pounds, but he can move. He had a productive spring and will be the field stretcher.

5-8, 174-pound senior Mykeal Terry didn't have the breakout season expected, but he still caught 21 passes for 186 yards with a touchdown. He's one of the team's faster players and averaged 17.7 yards per catch with five scores as a sophomore, but he needs to be more consistent and he needs to play up to his potential at the inside Z spot. He's too fast to only average 8.9 yards per catch.

Junior Cornelius Williams was one of the stars of the last off-season and ended up turning into a nice, dependable target at the Y catching 19 passes for 217 yards and two scores. At 6-1 and 180 pounds, he's a decent-sized receiver who comes from Hoover High in Alabama wining four state titles.

Projected Top Reserves: 6-3, 228-pound junior Travis Boyd will step in when the offense is looking for a tight end. More of a blocker than anything else, he caught just six passes for 52 yards and a touchdown, and now he'll combine with 6-4, 222-pound redshirt freshman Matt Stidham and Cal transfer Kyle McClure at the spot.

Two of the bright stars on the horizon are each at the Y. 5-11, 200-pound sophomore Patrick Cherry had a great spring, while 6-1, 184-pound redshirt freshman Willie McDowell will be the team's No. 1 target down the road. They're each going to have to work to get playing time, but they looked like seasoned veterans this off-season.

5-9, 179-pound junior Andrew Davis made 18 catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman and 16 grabs for 161 yards and a score last year. A tough inside target, he has decent speed and nice hands to be a reliable possession receiver at the Z behind Terry.

Watch Out For ... Williams. The potential is there for more work for a player who can make deep plays and throw a consistent scare into defenses. Williams has that potential even at an inside position. He might not be Banks, but he could be a 35-catch playmaker if used the right way.
Strength: The system. While losing 61 catches from Banks isn't a plus, the offense spreads the ball around to a variety of different targets. 20 players caught a pass last season, and while they all weren't receivers, the offense is big on getting everyone involved.
Weakness: A true number one. Banks, RB Kenny Cattouse, and Josh Allen combined for 130 of the team's 314 catches last season. Banks was the one the passing game went to in the clutch, and now the attack needs to find that guy who can carry things when needed.
Outlook: There's enough overall experience to keep the passing production going, even if the corps will take a step back this season. It'll be up to some new blood in the mix, like Cherry or McDowell, to break out and make the receivers a strength. Terry, Williams, Jernigan and Burton are a good enough foursome to win with.
Rating: 5.5

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters
The line should be terrific with six players with significant starting experience returning. The anchor up front is junior Danny Franks, a former guard who turned into a center last year and started every game. Versatile, he could play almost anywhere on the line, but at 6-3 and 308 pounds, and with tremendous strength, he's best suited for the inside.

Former JUCO transfer Dion Small was moved around throughout the 2007 off-season as he tried to find a home, He eventually settled in at right tackle and is now the team's best lineman. The first team All-Sun Belt star is a 6-2, 314-pound brick wall who was a stunningly consistent pass blocker and almost never made mistakes. He's the star of the show up front.

Back at left tackle is 6-3, 310-pound senior Chris Jamison, an athletic rock of a blocker who earned honorable mention All-Sun Belt honors. Tough enough to play guard, and versatile enough to play either tackle spot, he's the type of blocker to revolve the running game around. He could be a little better against speed rushers, but he's a dominant all-around player who'll be an all-star.

6-3, 267-pound sophomore Tyler Clark ended up taking over at left guard in his true freshman season as he turned out to be too good to keep off the field. While he's not huge, he's physical enough to handle himself in the running game and is great against quick interior pass rushers.

6-5, 339-pound Wesley Potter is a huge hitter at right guard. He started every game and combined with Small to form a huge, productive wall in pass protection. The former JUCO transfer is the pancake block personified.

Projected Top Reserves: 6-6, 304-pound Will Chambliss wasn't bad at left guard, but he wasn't playing as well as expected and got passed over for Clark. Now the former inside man will work behind Jamison at left tackle, and while he's not a great athlete, he's a good veteran to work into the mix. He'll also be a backup at left guard.

One of the team's key backups will once again be junior Steven Adams, a 6-3, 304-pound veteran who can play any spot in the interior. The No. 2 man coming out of spring ball at both guard spots and at center, he'll see plenty of action and will likely see starting time at guard.

Watch Out For ... the line to have at least three all-stars. Small is a lock and Franks and Jamison will be on All-Sun Belt teams in some form. This is the most talented line in the league.
Strength: Veteran starters. A problem going into last year with wholesale changes being made, now the line should be phenomenal. Six starters are back and it should be the strength of the team early on.
Weakness: Reliable backups. There's no way the team will have the same luck with health two years in a row. Almost everyone played every game without too much of a problem, and while there's a nice veteran in Chambliss waiting in the wings, and Adams can step in where needed inside, the depth needs to be developed, especially at tackle.
Outlook: This is a big, experienced, talented line that'll be the best in the Sun Belt by far. Tremendous in pass protection and strong for the ground game, as long as everyone stays healthy, this will be the team's biggest strength.
Rating: 6.5