2008 Troy Preview - Offense
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CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - Troy Trojan Offense
Preview 2008 - Offense
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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.
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
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
Weakness of the offense:
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.