PRESENTED BY 669248957_logo

The big 2014 Troy football preview: Larry Blakeney keeps chugging

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Larry Blakeney's legacy at Troy is set already, but if he has one more rise to Sun Belt power in him, it begins this year. His Trojans have plenty of questions to answer at quarterback and on defense, but Troy's got some play-makers.

SB Nation 2014 College Football Countdown

Confused? Check out the advanced-stats glossary here.

1. A Troy institution

Twenty-four years after leaving his post as the receivers coach for his alma mater, Auburn ... about 21 years after he took the fall for allegedly funneling money to former Auburn defensive back Eric Ramsey ... 13 years after leading Troy to FBS, having already won 76 games in 10 seasons at the FCS level and reached the FCS playoffs seven times ... 10 years after beating Missouri ... seven years after beating Oklahoma State ... Larry Blakeney and his Troy football program are still chugging along.

Blakeney will turn 67 in September, one day after his Trojans take on Georgia in Athens. His tenure at Troy is the second-longest at the FBS level, behind only Frank Beamer's at Virginia Tech. He has been around long enough to suffer the ups and downs that come with the passage of time. The Trojans fell from 12-2 in 1996 (with an FCS semifinal appearance) to 5-6 in 1997. They went 7-4 in 2001, 4-8 in 2002, 7-5 in 2004, and 4-7 in 2005. They won at least eight games for five consecutive years (with shares of five consecutive Sun Belt titles) in the middle of the last decade, then crumbled to the ground with a 3-9 campaign in 2011. They rallied back to 6-6 in 2013.

The Sun Belt is a home for damaged goods. The really good coaches probably only stay for a few years before they get called up to a bigger school. Spend too long here, and there's probably a reason why. Blakeney's two-decade presence at Troy was likely spurred by the Auburn sanctions, which rendered him unhireable for quite a while, but to say the least, he has made the most of his situation.

His last two Troy teams have been just salty (and young) enough to suggest that he could have one more push in him. Whether that comes in 2014 could depend on whether one of three intriguing quarterbacks emerges.

Well, that, and whether a wretched defense improves at least a little bit.

2013 Schedule & Results

Record: 6-6 | Adj. Record: 4-8 | Final F/+ Rk: 105
Date Opponent Opp. F/+ Rk Score W-L Adj. Score Adj. W-L 5-gm Adj. Avg.
31-Aug UAB 115 34-31 W 28.0 - 31.4 L
7-Sep Savannah State N/A 66-3 W 31.5 - 18.7 W
12-Sep at Arkansas State 90 34-41 L 32.9 - 37.3 L
21-Sep at Mississippi State 33 7-62 L 12.1 - 41.4 L
28-Sep at Duke 41 31-38 L 26.3 - 36.5 L -6.9
5-Oct South Alabama 68 34-33 W 34.6 - 34.1 W -6.1
12-Oct at Georgia State 121 35-28 W 23.5 - 31.5 L -10.3
26-Oct at Western Kentucky 77 32-26 W 34.7 - 26.4 W -7.8
31-Oct UL-Monroe 109 37-49 L 32.3 - 40.8 L -3.6
7-Nov at UL-Lafayette 86 36-41 L 28.7 - 32.8 L -2.4
16-Nov at Ole Miss 28 21-51 L 27.6 - 39.2 L -4.8
29-Nov Texas State 107 42-28 W 45.8 - 35.9 W -1.2
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk Spec. Tms. Rk
F/+ +0.3% 62 -20.6% 120 -0.3% 76
Points Per Game 34.1 31 35.9 108
Adj. Points Per Game 29.8 54 33.8 106

2. The offense came around

If you saw only one Troy game last year, it was probably the 51-21 loss to Ole Miss, in which Ole Miss gained a cool 751 yards (8.1 per play) on the Trojans' defense. It wasn't always that bad -- or, at least, Troy didn't always play offenses that good -- but that game told you everything you needed to know about Troy's limitations in 2013. The defense allowed at least 6.0 yards per play in 10 of 12 games and at least 7.0 yards per play in four.

Troy's defense ranked below the following awful defenses in the Def. F/+ rankings: New Mexico State, Georgia State, Nevada, Central Michigan, FIU, Kent State, Army, Miami (Ohio), and UMass. Those nine teams combined to go 21-87, which puts the Trojans' own 6-6 record into perspective. With just a bad defense, and not an awful one, Troy could have gone about 8-4 or 9-3. Troy lost three games by a possession or less and suffered from both bad defense and bad turnovers luck.

This is an encouraging thought, really, if you think Troy's defense can improve. The offense is in pretty good shape, and it improved by almost a touchdown over the second half of 2013.

Adj. Points Per Game (first 5 games): Opponent 33.1, Troy 26.2 (minus-6.9)
Adj. Points Per Game (last 7 games): Opponent 33.0, Troy 32.5 (minus-0.5)

Replacing a four-year starting quarterback is never fun, but if a new signal caller emerges, the Trojans' offense is experienced enough to do damage. Will the defense simply undo all the damage again?

Offense

FIVE FACTORS -- OFFENSE
Raw Category Rk Opp. Adj. Category Rk
EXPLOSIVENESS IsoPPP 1.23 24 IsoPPP+ 104.8 36
EFFICIENCY Succ. Rt. 44.1% 57 Succ. Rt. + 94.0 83
FIELD POSITION Def. Avg. FP 28.1 31 Def. FP+ 100.4 55
FINISHING DRIVES Pts. Per Trip in 40 4.7 30 Redzone S&P+ 92.3 91
TURNOVERS EXPECTED 18.6 ACTUAL 18 -0.6
Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 27 74 84 45
RUSHING 91 106 106 103
PASSING 13 55 53 16
Standard Downs 98 100 58
Passing Downs 37 45 29
Q1 Rk 89 1st Down Rk 98
Q2 Rk 90 2nd Down Rk 58
Q3 Rk 52 3rd Down Rk 48
Q4 Rk 44

3. Big plays abound

When a play worked for Troy in 2013, it worked. The run game was relatively inefficient, keeping defenders out of the backfield but not getting runners very far downfield; the passing game, on the other hand, clicked. Quarterback Corey Robinson's stat line (11.3 yards per completion) and a low sack rate tell us that Troy wants to get the ball out of the quarterback's hand quickly, but that didn't stop the Trojans' top three targets from averaging 15.0, 16.9, and 13.1 yards per catch, respectively. Six Troy receivers caught at least one pass 40 yards, and the most explosive of the bunch, junior Bryan Holmes, returns.

Quarterback

Note: players in bold below are 2014 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.

Player Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Comp Att Yards Comp
Rate
TD INT Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
Corey Robinson 285 421 3219 20 9 67.7% 18 4.1% 7.0
Deon Anthony 26 43 482 5 0 60.5% 1 2.3% 10.9
Dallas Tidwell 6'7, 232 Jr. 2 stars (5.4)
Connor Bravard 6'1, 195 Jr. 3 stars (5.5)






Dontreal Pruitt 5'11, 180 Jr. 2 stars (5.2)






4. Who takes the job?

Pretty much everything I said about Kolton Browning in Tuesday's ULM preview could be repeated in regard to Corey Robinson. A four-year starter, Robinson was behind center for Troy's fifth bowl game in seven years, it's complete collapse, and its slow rebound. The four-year starter threw for almost 14,000 yards and 81 touchdowns, and after some interception issues in his first two years (30 interceptions and a 3.0 percent interception rate), he slowly phased out the mistakes (18 and 2.2 percent).

Robinson was the face of the quick-passing Troy offense for a long time, and in 2014, not only is he gone, but so is his backup, dual-threat Deon Anthony.

The race to replace Robinson features three players who are certainly not without their strengths. Dallas Tidwell is a towering presence, a pro-style-to-the-core prospect who could be well-suited to Troy's catch-and-throw style. But he'll get competition from a pair of interesting JUCO prospects.

Connor Bravard succeeded Kansas State's Jake Waters at Iowa Western Community College and completed 62 percent of his passes with 23 touchdowns to nine interceptions in 2013. Dontreal Pruitt, meanwhile, threw for 45 touchdowns with just seven picks and a single sack while leading East Mississippi Community College to the NJCAA national championship. He averaged 15.0 yards per completion and simply dominated, but his size likely limited his recruitment options.

Of these three, the odds are pretty good that one will be ready to play at a high level in 2014. And if that's the case, the offense could be one of Troy's best, especially if a line with three returning starters (including all-conference tackle Terrence Jones) and 54 career starts can gel a bit further after a shaky 2013.

Running Back

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Rushes Yards TD Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Carry
Opp.
Rate
Brandon Burks RB 5'9, 195 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 134 675 2 5.0 3.7 44.0%
Jordan Chunn RB 6'0, 226 So. 2 stars (5.4) 128 514 14 4.0 4.1 31.3%
Deon Anthony QB 72 435 3 6.0 5.7 41.7%
Khary Franklin RB 5'6, 171 Sr. 3 stars (5.5) 20 103 0 5.2 5.5 40.0%
Corey Robinson QB 17 36 1 2.1 4.2 23.5%
Daron White RB 5'9, 181 Jr. 2 stars (5.3) 15 44 2 2.9 3.8 20.0%
Chandler Worthy WR 5'9, 170 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 8 44 1 5.5 3.5 50.0%
Michael Lindsey RB 5'8, 160 So. 2 stars (5.4) 6 37 0 6.2 2.0 83.3%
Tim Longmire RB 5'10, 191 RSFr. 3 stars (5.5)




Receiving Corps

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Targets Catches Yards Catch Rate Target
Rate
%SD Yds/
Target
NEY Real Yds/
Target
RYPR
Eric Thomas WR-X 102 66 993 64.7% 22.4% 58.8% 9.7 196 10.2 125.5
Bryan Holmes WR 5'11, 178 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 60 40 676 66.7% 13.2% 70.9% 11.3 200 11.9 85.4
Chris Williams WR-H 45 31 407 68.9% 9.9% 62.5% 9.0 44 9.7 51.4
Brandon Burks RB 5'9, 195 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 41 36 183 87.8% 9.0% 57.9% 4.5 -194 4.2 23.1
B.J. Chitty WR 6'2, 205 Sr. 3 stars (5.6) 36 23 187 63.9% 7.9% 47.1% 5.2 -93 4.7 23.6
Chandler Worthy WR-H 5'9, 170 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 29 25 403 86.2% 6.4% 63.0% 13.9 139 12.2 50.9
K.D. Edenfield WR-Y 6'0, 194 Jr. NR 28 19 251 67.9% 6.1% 75.0% 9.0 27 11.4 31.7
Jordan Chunn RB 6'0, 226 So. 2 stars (5.4) 27 21 104 77.8% 5.9% 69.2% 3.9 -128 3.7 13.1
Felton Payton WR-X 23 17 132 73.9% 5.0% 55.0% 5.7 -60 5.8 16.7
Wilson Van Hooser WR-Y 22 13 188 59.1% 4.8% 40.9% 8.5 23 8.1 23.8
Deon Anthony QB 12 9 106 75.0% 2.6% 83.3% 8.8 5 7.1 13.4
Khary Franklin RB 5'6, 171 Sr. 3 stars (5.5) 11 10 96 90.9% 2.4% 50.0% 8.7 -7 8.6 12.1
Trey Page WR-Y 5'8, 180 Jr. NR 3 2 12 66.7% 0.7% 0.0% 4.0 -12 1.3 1.5
Brett Thiesen WR-X 5'10, 167 Sr. NR 3 3 39 100.0% 0.7% 0.0% 13.0 9 6.2 4.9
Brandon Brooks WR-H 6'0, 185 So. 3 stars (5.6)
Clark Quisenberry WR 6'2, 210 So. 2 stars (5.4)








Jarvis Bentley WR 6'5, 195 Jr. 3 stars (5.5)








Teddy Ruben WR 5'10, 170 Jr. 2 stars (5.2)








Nyck Young WR 6'2, 205 Jr. NR








Andre Flakes WR 5'10, 180 Fr. 2 stars (5.4)








John Johnson WR 6'0, 175 Fr. 2 stars (5.3)








Emanuel Thompson WR 6'1, 178 Fr. 2 stars (5.3)








5. Taking ball distribution very seriously

When it comes to intended touches (carries plus targets), Troy did a lovely job of spreading the ball around, and that should come in handy this fall. Three players certainly earned a large portion of the targets -- running backs Brandon Burks and Jordan Chunn combined for 27.5 intended touches per game, and wideout Eric Thomas averaged 8.5 -- but eight other players averaged at least 1.8 per game. Two of the big three return, as do five of the little eight. Plus, youngsters like running back Tim Longmire and any of three JUCO-transfer receivers could be ready to demand some touches, as well.

There is solid experience in all directions, but the most exciting returnee is probably in the receiving corps. Bryan Holmes had a breakout season as a sophomore, catching two-thirds of his targets and averaging nearly 17 yards per catch. His big games were huge: He caught six passes for 117 yards against Arkansas State and three for 128 against Texas State.

If we divide Troy's receiving corps into two groups, the go-long guys and the extended-handoffs guys, Holmes is the leader of the former, and the bouncy B.J. Chitty and Chandler Worthy are probably the leaders of the latter.

Offensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 87 2.59 3.55 38.2% 70.2% 19.1% 121.8 4.0% 3.8%
Rank 111 114 36 78 54 66 42 46 17
Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Career Starts Honors/Notes
Terrence Jones RT 6'3, 320 Sr. 2 stars (5.3) 29 1st All-SBC
Jimmie Arnold LG 17
Dalton Bennett LT 6'3, 300 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 12
Evan McKissack C


11
Tommy Stephens RG 6'3, 290 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 6
Antonio Garcia OL 6'6, 290 So. 2 stars (5.2) 6
Caleb Carbine C 6'1, 280 Sr. NR 1
Luke Lawrence LG 6'3, 305 So. 2 stars (5.4) 0
David Gross LG 6'5, 306 So. 2 stars (5.4) 0
Xavier Fields RG 6'4, 360 So. 2 stars (5.4) 0
Tyler Lassiter LT 6'6, 296 So. 2 stars (5.3) 0
Johnathan Boring RT 6'4, 290 So. 2 stars (5.2) 0
Taylor Edwards OL 6'4, 291 RSFr. 2 stars (5.4) 0

Defense

FIVE FACTORS -- DEFENSE
Raw Category Rk Opp. Adj. Category Rk
EXPLOSIVENESS IsoPPP 1.40 123 IsoPPP+ 80.5 122
EFFICIENCY Succ. Rt. 42.6% 63 Succ. Rt. + 92.8 89
FIELD POSITION Off. Avg. FP 29.0 91 Def. FP+ 97.5 88
FINISHING DRIVES Pts. Per Trip in 40 4.7 108 Redzone S&P+ 95.6 75
TURNOVERS EXPECTED 23.0 ACTUAL 11.0 -12.0
Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 114 111 89 122
RUSHING 73 73 61 85
PASSING 123 117 108 125
Standard Downs 104 70 125
Passing Downs 117 112 121
Q1 Rk 110 1st Down Rk 104
Q2 Rk 115 2nd Down Rk 109
Q3 Rk 98 3rd Down Rk 123
Q4 Rk 114

6. Big plays abound

As good as Troy was at generating big plays on offense, [Random Troy Opponent] was even better at it. Troy's defense turned almost every offense into a juggernaut, leaking big plays like a sieve despite a solid run defense and decent pass rush. When a defense is good at a few things but still awful overall, you almost assume that things will naturally improve the next year. And maybe that will be the case. But as Troy attempts to strengthen its weaknesses, its strengths could lose equal ground.

Defensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 100 2.88 3.30 37.7% 65.1% 19.2% 92.4 4.6% 6.1%
Rank 59 50 64 46 52 63 74 56 80
Name Pos Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Tyler Roberts DE 6'2, 220 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 12 36.5 5.5% 8.0 5.5 0 0 3 1
Antonio Gillespie DT 12 32.0 4.8% 7.5 4.0 0 1 1 0
Marty Stadom DE 12 27.0 4.1% 7.5 3.0 0 0 0 0
Lonnie Gosha DT 6'2, 265 Jr. 3 stars (5.7) 12 22.5 3.4% 4.0 1.5 0 0 0 0
Jadarius Garner DE


12 17.5 2.6% 7.0 3.0 0 0 2 0
Shermane TeArt DT 12 15.0 2.3% 1.0 0.0 0 1 0 0
Deon Lee DE 6'3, 232 Jr. 3 stars (5.6) 12 10.0 1.5% 1.0 1.0 0 0 0 0
Brandon Timmons DE 6'2, 238 Sr. 2 stars (5.3) 5 6.5 1.0% 1.0 0.0 0 1 0 0
Billy Dobbs DE 6'4, 270 Sr. 2 stars (5.4) 7 6.0 0.9% 1.5 1.5 0 0 0 0
John Clark DT 11 5.0 0.8% 0.5 0.5 0 0 0 0
Aaron Williams DT 8 5.0 0.8% 1.0 1.0 0 0 0 0
Bryan Slater DT 6'1, 278 RSFr. 2 stars (5.4)
Carnell Simon DE 6'4, 264 Jr. 2 stars (5.4)
Jarvis Williams DE 6'1, 245 Jr. 2 stars (5.2)
Vinton Harris DT 5'11, 295 Jr. NR
Rashad Dillard DT 6'2, 265 Jr. NR

7. Strength becomes weakness

It took some serious breakdowns in the passing game to drag Troy's defense down despite, as you see above, some downright mediocre run stats. Troy ranked 73rd in Rushing S&P+, 59th in Adj. Line Yards, and 46th in Opportunity Rate, which points to a run D with promise ... at least until you notice that only two of last year's top six tacklers on the line return. Tyler Roberts is a dangerous, speedy pass rusher, and one-time Arkansas signee Lonnie Gosha has shown promise as a quick play-maker on the interior.

And knowing that there would be attrition up front, Blakeney went out and signed four junior college linemen. The end position might be in decent hands, but Gosha needs a partner on the inside, be it Bryan Slater or one of the JUCO tackles.

8. Jadarius

There is no good place to mention this, so I'll just place it here. Troy got a significant reminder of the triviality of wins and losses when end Jadarius Garner was found dead on the side of a Mississippi highway on January 2. We talk about strategies and tactics and recruiting and trends and stats in these previews, but these players are all 20-year old (or so) human beings, and they'll be dealing with more than film study this year. Condolences to both the Garner and Troy football families.

Linebackers

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Mark Wilson MLB 6'3, 230 Sr. 3 stars (5.6) 11 45.0 6.8% 5.0 1.0 0 0 0 0
Wayland Coleman-Dancer LB 6'0, 212 Sr. NR 11 37.0 5.6% 5.5 2.0 0 2 0 0
Mitchell Roland MLB 5'11, 222 So. 2 stars (5.3) 12 22.0 3.3% 2.0 0.0 0 1 0 0
Terris Lewis LB 6'2, 220 So. 2 stars (5.3) 12 22.0 3.3% 2.0 0.0 1 0 3 0
Eli Canton MLB 6'1, 230 Sr. 2 stars (5.4) 12 9.5 1.4% 0.0 0.0 1 0 0 0
Sam Lebbie LB 6'2, 240 RSFr. 3 stars (5.6)







Secondary

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Camren Hudson SS 12 69.5 10.5% 3.5 0 2 7 1 0
Chris Pickett FS 11 52.5 7.9% 2 0 1 1 2 0
Chris Davis CB 5'8, 167 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 12 30.5 4.6% 0 0 1 9 0 0
Ethan Davis CB 5'10, 182 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 12 28.5 4.3% 2 0 0 9 1 0
Keion Payne CB 5'11, 185 Sr. 3 stars (5.7) 12 28.5 4.3% 0 0 0 1 1 0
Jeremy Spikner NB 5'10, 181 Sr. 3 stars (5.5) 8 27.5 4.1% 1 0 0 1 1 0
Montres Kitchens FS 5'11, 178 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 7 20.0 3.0% 0 0 0 2 0 0
JaQuadrian Lewis SS 5'11, 172 So. 2 stars (5.2) 8 19.0 2.9% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rishad Goode FS


9 17.5 2.6% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Femi Odaibo NB 6'2, 187 Sr. NR 4 12.0 1.8% 1 0 0 1 0 0
Joe Lofton S 6'1, 188 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 4 6.0 0.9% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jacquez Young CB 5'9, 174 Sr. NR 4 5.0 0.8% 1 0 0 2 0 0
Shaq Beverly NB 5'9, 207 Jr. 3 stars (5.5) 3 4.0 0.6% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Martrez Townes S 3 3.5 0.5% 1 0 0 1 1 0
Cardell Lue CB 6'0, 185 So. 2 stars (5.2) 3 3.0 0.5% 0 0 0 2 0 0
Dondrell Harris S 5'11, 185 So. 2 stars (5.4)
Julius McCall CB 5'10, 169 RSFr. 2 stars (5.4)
Ta'Jarvis Fuller DB 6'1, 200 Jr. NR








John Knight DB 6'0, 197 Jr. NR

9. Experience isn't always a good thing

A good portion of Troy's success will come from the ability of Blakeney, defensive coordinator Wayne Bolt, corners coach Al Pogue and safeties coach Dustin Landry to craft quick, significant improvement in the secondary. Despite seniors at both primary safety spots, Troy gave up an infinite number of big plays.

The top three cornerbacks (including starters Chris and Ethan Davis, who at least showed promise in picking off or breaking up 19 passes) and plenty of other experienced hands return and are joined by JUCO transfers Ta'Jarvis Fuller and John Night. We'll see if the return of anybody is actually a good thing.

Special Teams

Punter Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Punts Avg TB FC I20 FC/I20
Ratio
Will Scott 56 44.5 4 12 22 60.7%
Ryan Kay 6'1, 214 So. 3 37.7 0 1 0 33.3%
Kicker Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Kickoffs Avg TB OOB TB%
Jed Solomon 5'7, 163 Jr. 62 59.2 28 0 45.2%
Will Scott 13 56.2 1 0 7.7%
Place-Kicker Ht, Wt 2014
Year
PAT FG
(0-39)
Pct FG
(40+)
Pct
Will Scott 49-51 8-10 80.0% 3-5 60.0%
Jed Solomon 5'7, 163 Jr. 1-1 0-0 N/A 0-0 N/A
Returner Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Returns Avg. TD
Wilson Van Hooser KR 15 15.8 0
Brandon Burks KR 5'9, 195 Jr. 10 18.1 0
Wilson Van Hooser PR 6 5.8 0
Bryan Holmes PR 5'11, 178 Jr. 5 20.6 0
Category Rk
Special Teams F/+ 76
Field Goal Efficiency 74
Punt Return Efficiency 15
Kick Return Efficiency 85
Punt Efficiency 50
Kickoff Efficiency 114
Opponents' Field Goal Efficiency 10

2014 Schedule & Projection Factors

2014 Schedule
Date Opponent Proj. Rk
30-Aug at UAB 115
6-Sep Duke 55
13-Sep Abilene Christian NR
20-Sep at Georgia 8
TBD Appalachian State NR
TBD Georgia State 125
TBD New Mexico State 124
TBD UL-Lafayette 79
TBD at Georgia Southern NR
TBD at Idaho 120
TBD at South Alabama 92
TBD at UL-Monroe 112
Five-Year F/+ Rk -10.0% (88)
Two-Year Recruiting Rk 109
TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin* -7 / +4.3
TO Luck/Game -4.7
Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 13 (6, 7)

10. Fewer than six wins would be disappointing

When your stalwart starting quarterback leaves and your defense is still an enormous question mark, it's hard to predict too much success. But the replacements at quarterback are exciting, and the winner of the job will have one hell of a supporting cast. The defense isn't going to get worse, and I think of a top-100 finish for Troy are at least decent.

Now, pretend Troy is indeed a top-100 team and look at the schedule. The Trojans should win at least three of four conference home games and at least two conference road games. Factor in wins over Abilene Christian and, in theory, UAB, and you're at seven wins with home upsets of Duke or UL-Lafayette at least a possibility.

This isn't a high bar, but a top-100 ranking and seven or eight wins would draw Troy all the way back from the malaise that briefly threw the Trojans for a loop in 2011. Blakeney's legacy is set already, but if he has one more rise to Sun Belt power in him, it begins this year.

More from SBNation.com

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.