- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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2010 overall record: 8-5
2010 conference record: 6-2, co-champs
Offense: 4, defense 8, punter/kicker 2
QB Corey Robinson, DE Jonathan Massaquoi, LB Xavier Lamb, S LaDarrius Madden
WR Jerrel Jernigan, WR TeBiarus Gill, RB DuJuan Harris, DE Mario Addison
2010 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)
Rushing: Shawn Southward (643 yards, 7 TDs)
Passing: Robinson * (321-of-505 for 3,726 yards, 28 TDs, 15 INT)
Receiving: Jernigan (822 yards, 6 TDs)
Tackles: Lamb* (91)
Sacks: Massaquoi* (13.5)
Interceptions: Jimmie Anderson*, Madden* (three each)
1. Corey Johnson did well. The junior college transfer appears to be the heir apparent to Jernigan, one of the best players in school history. Coach Larry Blakeney said of Johnson, “It looks like he could give us a burst down the middle.”
2. Depth in the defensive backfield. Blakeney says he is deeper at safety and cornerback than he has ever been, and really was impressed with the springs Brynden Trawick and Angelo Hadley, two junior college transfers who could have an immediate impact. That should help the Trojans improve their pass defense, which ranked No. 100 nationally.
3. More running. Even though Harris is gone, Blakeney is hopeful about his running back situation with the return of Southward and Chris Anderson. He praised D.J. Taylor as well, a former walk-on now on scholarship. He also mentioned that Gavin Ellis and Jim Teknipp give Troy options at tight end, because both can help with the power running game and can also get down field.
1. Offensive production. Troy lost its top three receivers in Jernigan, Gill and Jason Bruce. They accounted for over half of the team’s receiving yards. Seeing Johnson step up was a positive. Jamel Johnson had a good spring, and Chip Reeves is going to be counted on as well. No question Troy needs new faces to step up to fill the big void.
2. Replacing Addison. It appears John Robles is in the lead to replace Addison, who started opposite Massaquoi. R.J. Roberts also competed with Robles in the spring, and both will have a lot of work to do to make up for the 10.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss that Addison had last season.
3. Better defense. Troy has plenty of returning starters and players returning. Is that a good sign because they have experience, or a bad sign because this is a unit that ranked No. 89 in the nation last season? Blakeney has stressed playing better defense this year. With depth at linebacker and in the secondary, that is possible.