With the football season opener a mere nine days away, the Trojan defensive coordinator, Wayne Bolt, likes what he sees.
“Defensively, I think we have really improved in a week’s time that we have been here,” Bolt said at Troy football media day back on Aug. 10. “Of course we have got a long way to go.”
Bolt also said the defense is pretty deep up front, and he likes the depth of the players this year.
Senior defensive end Marty Stadom, a former junior college transfer who played in all of the games in 2012 for Troy where he recorded 21 tackles, will be starting this year.
Senior defensive tackles Shermane TeArt and Antonio Gillespie are slated to be the starters in the middle of the D-Line with sophomore defensive end Tyler Roberts rounding out the front four.
TeArt’s season last year was cut to just five games when he was sidelined with an injury but the tackle managed to get nine total takedowns.
Junior linebacker Mark Wilson will be replacing the void left by Brannon Bryan taking over as the Trojans starting middle linebacker with the other starting linebacker being senior Wayland Coleman-Dancer.
Wilson recorded 44 total tackles in 2012 and had a fumble recovery in Troy’s memorable win over FIU.
In the Trojan secondary, junior safety Jeremy Spikner is expected to be the nickelback while sophomore Chris Davis and junior Ethan Davis will man the cornerback positions.
Chris Davis finished the 2012 season with 18 total tackles while Ethan Davis missed first half of the season with an injury.
Senior Camren Hudson, who had 50 tackles good for fifth best and recorded two fumble recoveries while forcing two fumbles last year, is obviously the starting strong safety for Troy.
The starting job of free safety belongs to senior Chris Pickett, who was a dominant force for the Trojans last year amassing 61 tackles and forcing three fumbles.
Bolt said he is striving to teach the Trojan defenders to play not as individuals, but as a team with one heartbeat.
On the special teams side of the ball, senior kicker Will Scott is doing everything from kicking off to kicking field goals and even doing the punting for Troy.
The guys that often get overlooked, but not in the Tropolitan, are senior short snapper Kendall Gibson, senior long snapper Hunter Graham and that guy that holds that ball before right before Scott tries to send the ball between the uprights, junior holder Brett Thiesen.
On kick and punt returns look for Trojan newcomer Wilson Van Hooser, a senior transfer from Tulane, to be out there ready to make the catches.
“I think we have got some quality guys with some speed and quickness that are working in those areas,” head coach Larry Blakeney said about the special teams.
All the questions will be answered when UAB comes to town on Aug. 31.