Something to prove

Troy quarterback Corey Robinson was a lightly recruited two-star prospect out of Lone Oak High School in Paducah, Kentucky.

And that held true despite a senior season where he completed 380 of 521 passes for a mind-numbing 5,847 yards and 91 touchdowns. Furthermore, all four of his interceptions were thrown before October as he went the final 10 games of the season without one.

Robinson didn't even have a national ranking among the other class of 2008 quarterbacks, with Troy, Murray State and Tennessee-Martin as his only three offers.

And he carries that inside, each and every time he takes the field.

"Every time I play a school that didn't offer me, which is everybody we play, I feel like I've got a lot to prove," he told earlier this week.

Troy head coach Larry Blakeney has pitched that chip on the shoulder mentality to his team as they prepare for Saturday's season opener against Clemson.

"There's a tremendous opportunity to go and make some noise with the BCS and put a feather in your cap," he said during the Sun Belt Conference teleconference. "Most of us [Sun Belt schools] play automatic bid-type conference teams in these early games. We play two of them here right away. I think it's definitely an opportunity.

"I've sold our guys, hopefully, on the opportunity that's beset them, with the game at Clemson."

Robinson, a redshirt sophomore, has returned to what was a prolific offense a season ago. The Trojans finished 11th in the nation in passing offense [295.86] and 17th in total offense [453.46].

Back with Robinson, who threw for 3,726 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2010, is running back Shawn Southward. Southward led Troy with 623 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. Chris Anderson, the third-leading runner with 388 yards and three scores, also returns.

There's not nearly as much continuity in the passing game.

Wide receivers Chip Reeves and Jamel Johnson, who combined for 53 catches for 448 yards and five touchdowns in 2010, were ruled academically ineligible. Brett Moncrief, the top-returning wide receiver that's eligible, is expected to miss Saturday's game because of an injury.

The top returning wide receiver slated to play against the Tigers is sophomore Eric Thomas, who caught nine passes for 120 yards and a touchdown a season ago.

"We made ourselves younger when we had a couple of guys who didn't make it eligibility-wise, because of the loss of Jerrell Jernigan over there on offense," Blakeney said. "We've had good work. We've had young guys and a couple of junior college guys step up. It looks like we've got a chance to get some guys back that may have been hurt a little bit. Hopefully, we'll go to Clemson with most of the guys that we had hoped to."

Days before kickoff, Blakeney remains upbeat.

"We've had a good preparation -- not many distractions at all -- it's a good group of kids, either that or there just so young they're just scared to death," Blakeney said. "We are a young football team."

Sounds like Troy and Clemson are sort of in the same boat -- positive returns from preseason camp, despite all the youth and inexperience at several positions. Top Stories