Cardinal Rule Editor-in-Chief
Preparations for Troy football this fall took a big step last Thursday, Jan. 23, when the Trojans announced that Al Pogue was the newest addition to Troy’s football coaching staff.
Pogue has been coaching in Alabama for nearly two decades, spending 13 years as a head coach at three different high schools and the past three years as the Auburn Tigers’ Director of High School relations.
“The decision to come to Troy was easy,” Pogue said. “I’m a football coach and coaching is my passion. Auburn gave me an opportunity, but Troy gave me an opportunity to do what I really wanted to do and that’s coach kids and be a mentor.”
Pogue’s addition to the staff will give the Trojans a new defensive backs coach to help improve a secondary that gave up nearly 314 yards a game in the air last season.
“I’m just going to try to build on some things they’ve learned,” Pogue said. “And hopefully we can get better on the back end and have a top passing defense in our conference.”
From 1993-1996 he was a three-year starter at defensive back for Alabama State, during which time he received All-Southwestern Athletic Conference and All-American honors.
Troy head coach Larry Blakeney chose him from among several other candidates for several reasons, with his biggest selling point being his history coaching high school football.
Pogue spent 12 of his 13 years as a head coach in the Montgomery area, including leading Carver High School to its first undefeated regular season in school history in 2008.
“I think those kinds of experiences when you run programs and have to deal with all the levels, all the positions of kids,” Blakeney said. “It gives you some experience that is hard to replace.”
Pogue will also provide the experience of being a part of an Auburn football team that nearly won the national championship in early January and lessons for how Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn managed to breathe new life into a struggling program.
“The relationship with the players,” Pogue said. “Using my influence in a positive manner. That’s very big with him, and trust. He had a plan when he came in, the kids believed in him and look what happened.”
An additional advantage of adding Pogue to the coaching staff is his recruiting ties due to his time spent coaching and his time spent at Auburn.
“Recruiting is all about relationships,” he said. “While being the Director of High School Relations at Auburn I was able to forge a lot of relationships, guys know me here in the state from my high school ties and I’ve had an opportunity to meet a lot of coaches from a lot of different states.”
The hiring of Pogue is an important step for the Trojans if they hope to return to prominence, and a bowl game, this fall.
“I think he will add to our staff and be a good member for as long as he’s here,” Blakeney said.