This season will have a different outlook for the Troy football program.
A lot of big names from last year’s team look to improve this season and are already making noise in the Sun Belt Conference as well as nationally.
Three Trojans, including senior safety Montres Kitchens, were named to the Sun Belt’s preseason all-conference teams.
Senior offensive lineman Dalton Bennett was selected for the Rimington Award Watch List for this upcoming season, an award given to the nation’s top center. Senior running back Brandon Burks made the Doak Walker Award Watch List, an award given to the nation’s top running back.
Surrounded by a strong supporting cast and a rejuvenated fan base, sophomore quarterback Brandon Silvers is also hoping to have a strong season this year, particularly under first year head coach Neal Brown’s up-tempo, aggressive offensive.
Needless to say, both players and coaches are confident in their capacity to perform at the highest level this season. The Trojans’ record in 2014 was a forgettable 3-9, and the players are humbled yet hungry.
“Our goal right now is to be the most improved team in the country,” Brown said after Troy’s 2nd scrimmage of the season.
The scrimmage showed the healthy internal competition between players and certain players’ ability to make explosive plays.
The athletic department has invested heavily in the future of the football program by hiring Brown and new Director of Athletics Jeremy McClain.
Coach Brown recognizes the talent on the field, and he has put an emphasis on concentration in order to eliminate the mistakes that burdened the team last season.
“I don’t think we fumbled with the first string in there,” Brown said. “We played the music tonight. The reason I did it tonight was I didn’t want the players to be able to hear the coaches. I told the coaches at our staff meeting, ‘I’m going to play the music loud. I don’t want them to be able to hear you.’”
“Scrimmages are moving days,” Brown said, referring to the depth chart. “You either move up or you move down.”
The battle between the offensive line and the defensive line highlighted the night. Coach Brown was quick to compliment the progression of the players on the offensive line.
The defense has improved in stopping the run game with better form tackles, and the defensive backs were frequently getting their hands on the ball. The wide receivers showed glimpses of brilliance, but consistency in route-running and blocking will decide the depth chart.
Junior running back Jordan Chunn showcased an additional burst of speed which he credits to a healthier diet and extra running. Chunn looks to inflict damage to opposing defenses alongside his fellow backs Brandon Burks and Milton Flakes.
With newcomers like UAB transfer senior cornerback LaMarcus Farmer and freshman safety Tron Folsom, the team is consumed by preparation for the challenging season ahead.
“Seeing this team and how everybody plays, everybody’s energy, it feels good,” Folsom said. “It feels like everybody wants to win.”