Scouting Report: Troy Trojans

Troy head coach Larry Blakeney, who once had a grad assistant working for him as an Auburn assistant by the name of Tim Beckman, has been highly successful. He has taken Troy from a Division II school to a Division I-AA national title contender to a solid Division I team that is an annual favorite to win the Sun Belt Conference.

He is not afraid to lead his team against any caliber opponent and is proving it by opening this season with Arkansas, Florida, hosting Oklahoma State, and will later travel to Georgia for a non-conference affair. The Trojans have made a living in recruiting Florida and have more Floridians on their team than any Division I school outside the Sunshine State other than Army.

Offense
It all revolves around quarterback Omar Hougabook (6-0, 218). The senior out of Florida -- by way of Dodge City Community College in Kansas -- is very comfortable in the spread offense. Last year's Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year, he has completed 44-of-95 passing in the first two games with two interceptions and three touchdowns. He is also a strong runner with speed that can really make plays with his feet when the protection breaks down. He is the unquestioned leader of the football team.

The running game has been paltry so far by Troy standards at 107.5 yards per game. Besides Hougabook, fullback Kenny Cattouse is the major threat with 89 yards so far this season on 19 carries. Preseason All-Sun Belt pick Gary Banks is the number one target with eight receptions so far, but freshman Austin Silvoy has a pair of touchdown catches and Cornelius Williams and Terry McKeal also factor.

The offensive line is big, averaging 6-3 and 313 pounds per man. They will vary splits and sometimes use those exaggerated splits you see in the Big 12 from Texas Tech and now Baylor. it is a wide-open, full throttle attack that will take chances. You will also notice the audibles come from the sidelines and in that action at the line of scrimmage will remind you of Oklahoma State.

Defense
The Trojans are known for their speedy defensive linemen like current Dallas Cowboy DeMarcus Ware. They have those kind of guys this season, but not in the league of Ware. Defensive tackles Marcus Pittman (6-5, 286) and Chris Bradwell (6-4, 280) are solid.

The linebackers are playmakers with their speed as MLB Boris Lee (6-0, 212) is undersized, but leads the Trojans in tackles. WLB Marcus Richardson (6-0, 232) is second on the team in stops. SLB Josh Maxwell (6-0, 232) is a three-year letterman.

The best defensive player may be cornerback Leodis McKelvin (5-11, 192) as he is third in tackles and has plenty of passes defended. The safeties are big weighing around 220 pounds and will play aggressive and downhill. The other corner is Elbert Mack (5-10, 165).

The defensive scheme is a base 4-3 with plenty of variations and they are extremely aggressive, loads of blitzes. They have not had an interception but have forced five fumbles in the first two games. They will take chances to expedite getting the ball back to Hougabook and the offense.

Special Teams
The head coach himself said this week will include a makeover on special teams. Their shield punt had two punts blocked at Florida last week. Punter Adrian Vera is averaging 36.2 yards a punt. They have given up returns on punts and kickoffs, while they have yet to return a punt and their kickoff return average is a pedestrian 21.4 yards per return. The saving grace has been field goals and extra points where Greg Whibbs is 3-of-4 on field goals and a perfect 6-of-6 on PATs.

Troy Head Coach Larry Blakeney Quotes
On beating Missouri on ESPN three years ago: "That was a good situation for us. We had a two-for-one situation much like this one. Credit Oklahoma State for coming to our place first and we'll return the games later in the years to come. It's a great opportunity for Troy to play Oklahoma State from the Big 12 and I still think a contender for the Big 12 title. They have great talent and look solid on defense and in the kicking game. They can do some great things offensively, so we're looking forward to the opportunity and the task. We've taken a little two week tour of the SEC without much success except we did score some points and we've gotten a little better hopefully in the other two areas."

On working with Tim Beckman at Auburn when Beckman was a grad assistant: "Tim and Kim (his wife) are two great people and we've kept up with them and see him at the convention or talk to him once or twice a year. He is a great young coach and is head coaching material someday. He has moved expeditiously up the ladder and is with some good folks. I really think Tim is a rising star in our business."

On current Cowboy and former Troy player Clint Coe: "Clint is a great kid. We thought it was a heckuva signee for us and did come in and play early in his career (started the win over Missouri). I think he really got homesick and wanted to get a little closer to home to play his college ball. We were really sad to lose him and his family. We really enjoyed the mom and dad and they are good people. We hated to lose him but I am glad to see him playing well especially after what happened (Clint was assaulted) last year.

On his quarterback Omar Hougabook: "He is a good player and he started out right. He came from Dodge but is originally from Florida. He is a guy that was accountable to his teammates from day one. He learned the offense and had played in a similar offense at Dodge, but he was just the right kind of guy. He doesn't look like the pro guys that wind it up and throw. He has a shorter stroke but is accurate and can make all the throws. He is tough enough to stand in the pocket and can make things happen with the run when things break down."

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