/Troy football players battle for starting positions

Troy football players battle for starting positions

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Wally Pendergrass

Staff Writer 

We are just 16 days away from our Trojan war with in-state rival UAB, and to get you ready, here is a look at our team and some of the position battles currently going on.

The Trojans will no doubt be looking to have better starts to games, in terms of defense. They have historically been a team that wins the first half and at times struggles in the second half, but 2013 was the reverse.

The defense allowed 137 points in the first quarter last season, and only 81 in the fourth quarter. Defensive Coordinator Wayne Bolt will no doubt be looking to continue the fourth quarter success while getting the team off to a faster start.

The Trojan defense is anchored by Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference First Team defensive end Tyler Roberts. The junior from Hoover looks to continue the Trojans’ tradition of having a great defensive line. Roberts was fourth on the team in tackles last season and led the team with 5.5 sacks.

The linebackers have two solid returning starters from last season in seniors Wayland Coleman-Dancer and Mark Wilson. They look to build on their success from last season, where they were fifth and third on the team in tackles respectively.

The Trojans have a new coach on the defensive side of the ball this year. Al Pouge joins the Trojans as the cornerbacks coach. He will no doubt be relying on the leadership and experience of Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team selection Ethan Davis. Davis looks to makes his senior season as successful as last year, when he broke up nine passes. This tied him for first on the team.

The Trojan offense had a problem similar to the defense. The team only scored 89 points in the first quarter, while scoring 118 in the fourth. Starting in the trenches, the Trojan offensive line could be one filled with seniors.

The Trojans may start four seniors on the offensive line, which remains a highly contested area of competition within the team. It is known that Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference First Team selection Terrence Jones will start at right tackle. His fellow linemen will rally behind the senior from Huntsville.

The Trojan receivers are led by senior Chandler Worthy and Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team selection, junior Bryan Holmes. They will try to fill the void left by Eric Thomas, who became the Sun Belt’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions last season.

In the backfield the Trojans have many options, including junior Brandon Burks and senior Khary Franklin, who each averaged over five yards per carry last season, and sophomore Jordan Chunn, who had 14 rushing touchdowns last year.

The game of football has become about who is under center, and the Trojans are having a battle to see who gets that right this season. Dontreal Pruitt, a junior from Laurel, Mississippi, and Brandon Silvers, a redshirt freshman from Gulf Shores, are currently neck and neck to see who gets the coveted quarterback position. The Trojans have shown before that they can succeed with a dual quarterback system, and we might see that again this year.

The Trojans begin the season in Birmingham against rival UAB on Saturday, Aug. 30. The first home game for the Trojans is the following Saturday, Sept. 6 against Duke.