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TROY Team Report
Omar Haugabook took Troy to new heights in his two seasons as the Trojans' starting quarterback.
However, his departure, along with that of offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, who left for Auburn, has left Troy with an interesting dilemma this spring.
Haugabook passed for 5,376 yards and 39 touchdowns, and rushed for 941 and 16 touchdowns in only two years.
Franklin, meanwhile, installed Troy's new wide-open passing attack. He was replaced by Neal Brown, who must find a starting quarterback this spring.
Sophomores Jonathan Chandler, Tanner Jones and Jamie Hampton are the leading contenders, along with Richmond transfer Levi Brown.
"Right now, they are all starting on equal footing," coach Brown said. "Hopefully, one or two of them will separate from the pack fairly quickly, but I don't have a front-runner going into spring practice."NOTES, QUOTES
--The Trojans must replace outstanding defensive backs Elbert Mack (eight interceptions) and Leodis McKelvin, who is a projected first-round NFL draft pick.
--Neal Brown was hired as Troy's new offensive coordinator after Tony Franklin accepted the same position at Auburn.
SPRING OBJECTIVES: Troy must replace two-year all-league quarterback Omar Haugabook. Only junior Levi Brown, a Richmond transfer, has much experience. Sophomores Jonathan Chandler, Tanner Jones and Jamie Hampton also will be in the mix.
BUILDING BLOCKS: Despite losing several quality defensive players, Troy's defensive line and linebackers should stack up with any in the conference. Troy has a decisive advantage in speed against most Sun Belt teams.
SCHEDULE SITUATION: The Trojans open the season at league rival Middle Tennessee before facing LSU, Ohio State and Oklahoma State on the road. Troy's only home game the first six weeks of the season is against Alcorn State. The Trojans' second league game is at Florida Atlantic, which won the Sun Belt title a year ago.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We have a lot of questions that need to be answered this spring, and quarterback is certainly one of the most important. We also have to replace two very good corners, most of our leading receivers and our running back. We also have a lot of work to do on special teams." -- Troy coach Larry Blakeney.STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
STARS OF 2008:
WR Jerrel Jernigan -- He caught 30 passes last season after making the move from quarterback to receiver. Jernigan has explosive speed and should be one of the Sun Belt's top receivers in 2008.
LB Boris Lee -- He led Troy with 82 tackles in 2008 as a sophomore and also had two interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
DL Kenny Mainor -- The senior had an outstanding season in 2007, recording 40 tackles, including 10 for losses and five sacks.
QB Corey Robinson -- The Paducah, Ky., native set a national high school record by throwing for 91 touchdowns his senior season. Whether he will be ready to make an impact immediately is questionable, but it was an excellent signing for the Trojans.
DB Jorrick Calvin -- The junior college transfer has an excellent opportunity to make an impact in the secondary, which was hit hard by graduation.
RB Maurice Greer -- The Garden City Junior College transfer is a former Mr. Football from Colorado.
--DE Brandon Lang battled a knee injury late in the season but should be back for spring practice.
--OL Jacob Creech, DL Brandon Boudreaux and DB Kejuan Phillips were grayshirts in 2007 who will be eligible to practice this spring.
Previous Report: 02/08/2008