Ah yes! The Men of Troy! It conjures up visions Leinart, Bush, Jarrett, Lendale White, OJ Simpson, Mike Garrett, Charles White and a host of others all led by Pete Carroll, John Robinson, et al. But wait just a second! These aren't the Men of Troy. These are just men FROM Troy! Well, that is a horse (pardon the pun) of a different color. These men from Troy may not have the 8 deep lineup of NFL talent that USC has, but they apparently had enough to lead FSU in to the fourth quarter before finally succumbing to the Noles late.
So, who are these guys?
Troy is Div 1-A team out of Troy, AL playing in the Sun Belt conference. Last year, they went 4-7 They were led to the Division II championship by our very own Chan Gailey back in 1984. They've been playing Div I-A ball for a few years now so its not like they are fresh from the lower ranks. Their biggest victory to date was over the Mizzou Tigers. They are coached by Larry Blakeney - a Pat Dye disciple.
No, I don't want their history, I want to know about their team!
OH! Well, let's start off with their record of 1-1. Their first game was 38-0 drubbing of Alabama State - a div I-AA school out of Montgomery. Second, they played FSU (as mentioned above) and came up just short 24-17. Many prognosticators think that Troy is ultimately going to be the Sun Belt champ at the end of the year. But, in the meantime, they are now in the middle of a wicked road schedule - with the Jackets being sandwiched between FSU and Nebraska (ballsy, eh?).
Their offense is led by junior QB Omar Haugabook (a JUCO transfer) - in his first year at Troy. If you were at the Samford game last weekend, I suspect their offense will look somewhat familiar in that they run the ubiquitous spread offense. That means they throw. A lot. It's also important to note that this offense is also a brand new offense - installed during the offseason to correct the offensive issues suffered last season. Troy will run the ball just enough to try and keep the safeties and linebackers from cheating back on their assignments. But their modus operandi is to throw and throw.
Haugabook - while he prefers to throw - appears to not hesitate take off from time to time and gain a little yardage. But, one thing about Haugabook is that he is a big athletic QB - kind of a LB in a QB's body (and that's meant as a compliment). Another thing that quickly stuck out to me is that Haugabook did a great job of spreading the ball around vs FSU with 4 players getting 4 or more catches (3 with 7 or more). Much like previous games, expect a heavy dose of 3 step drops they use. Its nothing Tenuta and crew haven't seen recently - that's the good news. The better news is that the Tech defense seems to have gotten better and better in stopping it with each outing.
Haugabook did throw 3 INT's vs FSU. It appears that Haugabook throws a pretty flat pass from a low release point. The Jackets D should get some opportunities for batted balls and INT's if they can fill the passing lanes and get their hands up.
Can we score on them?
Yes, we can. But, they won't be pushovers. Up until this year, the clear strength of the Troy program has been their defense. 3 of FSU's first 5 drives ended with a turnover and FSU ended up with 4 turnovers overall. Fortunately, the Jackets offense doesn't routinely turn the ball over - at least not lately.
Troy's defense is led by FS Sherrod Martin, DE Kenny Mainor, and LB Marcus Richardson. A big key here is the size of the Trojan CB's. Both are 5-11 and once again present a size mismatch for Calvin Johnson. Then again, most CB's do. I have also noted that their safeties typically have a lot of tackles. This could present some interesting matchups in the secondary. If Reggie Ball can hit a couple of big plays downfield, the safeties will be forced to sit back and that will give Choice his opportunity. Yes, indeed, I do have a firm grasp of the obvious. And, naturally, as I pointed out versus Notre Dame, Reggie MUST take care of the ball!
What do you think will happen?
I've seen a lot of teams come close to the upset and give themselves a pat on the back for playing a top team close. How many times is that performance followed up by a stinker? A lot. Furthermore, Troy played FSU on a very very short week for FSU. From what I saw, their gameplan reflected it. The Jackets have the luxury of a normal week leading up to this game. I do think that Troy will keep us fans squirming in our seats as we won't ever put them away. But, the Jackets have too much defense and just enough offense.
Yes! If the Georgia Tech kickoff coverage team believes that it can repeatedly give the Troy offense the ball at midfield, then it might be a longer day than we'd like. Special teams could give Troy the momentum and belief that they can win this game.
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