Scouting Troy Defense and Special Teams

Troy is in rebuilding mode after losing both defensive tackles, a linebacker, and all four players in their secondary. And that's off a defense that gave up at least 28 points in each of the Trojans' five losses last season.

That process is made more difficult by the NCAA mandated absence of LB Bear Woods (108 tackles, seven for loss in '08) for the first two games. Missing this game has to be extra tough for the senior from MacClenny.

The best player on their football team is MLB Boris Lee (126 tackles, 9.5 for loss in ‘08). He was credited with 14 tackles in the loss to Bowling Green. This guy is a legit, SEC caliber linebacker. He got a little help in the Bowling Green game from WLB Donnell Golden. Golden, who was starting in place of Woods, contributed six stops.

Troy welcomed back defensive ends Brandon Lang (10.5 sacks in ‘08) and Cameron Sheffield (5.5 sacks) but they combined for just one sack and no QB pressures in the opener. That's a concern, considering that Bowling Green threw the ball 44 times. Troy desperately needs for them to be more active this week. The team is also counting on JUCO All-American Eugene Kinlaw to become a force in the middle of the line. I don't know how good a player is, but I love his nickname --- "Blood Bath".

The front seven is okay and has the potential to be pretty darn good. One thing for certain, it's a lot better than the secondary. That all-new unit struggled in the first game allowing 339 yards through the air and 73 percent completions. The best prospect back there is freshman CB Bryan Willis who made six tackles and intercepted a pass in his first collegiate game.

Troy will struggle to defend its Sun Belt Championship unless the pass rush from Lang and Sheffield returns and that young secondary gets a lot better in a big hurry. It's hard to see that improvement coming this week.

Special Teams ---- Troy returns both kickers, but neither punter Will Goggans (39.2 in '08) nor place kicker Sam Glusman (20-29 in ‘08) is all that good. Glusman missed a 36 yard FG in the first game while Glusman averaged 38 on three punts. Goggans is pretty good at downing the ball inside the 20, doing it 18 times last year and twice last week.

They were good on all kick coverage teams last year and the same was the case opening day. Jernigan had a 47-yard kickoff return in week one, but that was the only noteworthy return in seven tries.

While Troy is clearly superior to Charleston Southern, the Trojans will be hard pressed to keep this one interesting. Last season Troy overcame some defensive shortcomings by forcing 29 turnovers. Unless Florida gives them multiple freebies deep in Gator territory they won't have much of a chance.


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