Coach Larry Blakeney, a former Auburn quarterback, has done an incredible job at Troy taking that program from where it was when he got there to where it is today. I have been part of a growing program like that for six years (East Carolina) and I understand the hard work that goes into that assignment.
There are several things that are impressive to me about the job Coach Blakeney has done as Troy's head coach. First of all he has done a great job of selecting his assistant coaches. He has lost coaches every year, but the Trojans close ranks, come back and seem to always play good football.
You had to be impressed with they did offensively in bowl game. Their offensive coordinator from the previous season left and went to Texas Tech, but there didn't seem to be any dropoff.
Another thing that impresses me is the job that Troy does finding good players who have been overlooked by other colleges. The two guys who really stood out to me in the bowl game were the young quarterback (Corey Robinson), who is a redshirt freshman and is going to be a great one, and the senior receiver (Jerrel Jernigan), who is already a great player. I believe those guys are good enough to play anywhere in the country.
Jernigan, who is from Eufaula, is one of those players who slipped through the cracks that Auburn and Alabama missed on. There are several guys like that who have played high school football in the state of Alabama and have gone to Troy and are now playing very well in the NFL like DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora.
I know Coach Blakeney, who worked as an assistant coach at Auburn, is a good man and I am glad his team finished its season with such an impressive performance in its bowl victory.
From the email bag:
Doubt it is actually you who is receiving this, but I thought I would try anyway. Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to do this. It is great to hear your perspective on Auburn football each week. I became a rabid Auburn football fan when you coached in the 80s. I call myself the biggest Canadian Auburn football fan in the world--a large part of that is due to you. I hope you continue to write for ITAT for a long time!
I am glad you are enjoying the Dye-Log, The Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks and I appreciate your comments. I enjoy talking and writing about football. I guess you could say I picked an interesting year to start doing the columns, which is something I plan to continue in 2011. I am also glad I helped spark your interest in college football, which I believe is the greatest team sport there is.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor's Note: This part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn who was also head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming, Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns a week--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.