Football players discuss spring ball and life beyond the game

Victoria Cirilli

Staff Writer

While Troy football players are occupied during the spring semester with spring training, weigh-ins and meeting with coaches, it is comparatively less busy than fall semester.

Student athletes tend to schedule their harder classes in the spring, so they are not overwhelmed with a difficult class as well as needing to focus on games.

Spring semester is more “laid-back than the season,” said Sawyer Smith,  sophomore quarterback for the Trojans and social science major from Pensacola, Florida. He said instead of scheduling harder science labs during fall season, he waits until spring to schedule them, when he doesn’t have to worry about games.

While there are still the obligations of a student athlete in the spring, players said they can find more time for leisure activities, which include playing video games and reading in the spring semester.

Players said they live on structured and organized plans which continue throughout the offseason.

“I know for a fact that if I didn’t play football, I wouldn’t wake up at 5:30 in the morning and do that kind of stuff ever,” Smith said.  “I’d say it’s good for everybody — really everybody on the team.

“I mean, if we didn’t have that structure, we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing on the field right now. After the season, that’s when all the surgeries take place, so there’s people getting better right now. It’s just time to get better. You get like four or five months until the season actually starts.”

“I actually like to read,” said B.J. Smith,  sophomore running back and sport management major from Millbrook. “It’s really like my first leisure books since I started playing football and stuff like that … but I’m on the autobiography of Gucci Mane right now.

“The next one will probably be like ‘From Pieces to Weight’ — 50 Cent’s book.”

B.J. Smith said he liked nonfiction literature, one of the many hobbies the teammates said they would rather be doing inside.

While this does alleviate the pressure from juggling schedules, Jabir Frye,  sophomore social science major from Pensacola, Florida, and running back, said everything is “crammed together” during midterms and finals season.

“I’d have to say math midterms and finals (are the hardest),” said running back Jamarius Henderson, a junior math major from Midland City. “I have a 175-problem handwritten math test to study for and practice for, and that’s the toughest thing for me.”

“It’s definitely times around finals; I’ll agree with that,” Sawyer Smith said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s fall or spring semester, really.

“But T-Day runs right into the end of (this) semester … T-Day is like the big game for the spring, so we’ve got a lot of stuff going on.”

A football player’s practice schedule and requirements during spring can add stress to the testing season.

Nevertheless, players are expected to balance their academic and athletic commitments throughout the year.

“We have meetings, practice, dinner check, so like you don’t really have time to do anything on practice days,” Sawyer Smith said.

On off days where there is no practice, Sawyer Smith said that they get roughly two hours without football-related activities.

Henderson added that players have to ensure they make study hall and don’t lose focus on academics.

The Trojans are preparing for T-Day on April 21, which is when they will have their spring game and receive their Sun Belt Conference Championship rings.

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