September 11, 2010

Trojan Horse? Troy looks for road upset

Time to get back out on the field.

Game two of the 2010 season is here for Oklahoma State and they draw an opponent Cowboy fans remember for a reason they'd like to forget: a national TV embarrassment in 2007.

That's ancient history at this point, especially since OSU (1-0) got its revenge the following season in Stillwater. Just the same, those painful memories die hard and making another lap on the Trojans would make many a fan in Orange Country smile. And this time around, Troy is filling a lot of holes. Only nine starters remain from last season's 9-win squad and a total of 27 transfers or JUCOs make up a chunk of the roster.

So what to expect from a team that long-time head coach Larry Blakeney admits has lost a lot? We'll start finding out for sure tonight at 6, as the Trojans take on the Pokes inside Boone Pickens Stadium for an un-televised contest.

Defensively, Bill Young expects the Trojans to bring a look to the field similar to that of the OSU offense.

"Troy has an offense that is very similar to ours," he said. "So we have had an opportunity to work with it this spring and during two-a-days so that should help us quite a bit. They will have some new wrinkles and some plays that we haven't seen so we will have to adapt and make sure we expose our players to those."

"Troy is a pretty good team," Brodrick Brown said. "We've watched a little film on them. They're fast, fast guys on the offensive side of the ball and they don't hold back anything, so we've just got to come with it and come out and hit them hard."

Head coach Mike Gundy said improvement in the secondary is something he'll be looking for tonight.

"There are some areas that our coaches had concerns with during the game," Gundy said. "We've identified those and will work on them this week to get better. We have maturity at the safety spot. We're still somewhat inexperienced at corner. Brodrick (Brown) basically played one game last year. We're trying to work guys who are young. They'll continue to improve each week. We aren't a finished product there."

On the flipside, neither is the Trojans (1-0). Their defense returns three starters from last season and Blakeney likely realizes already the "Pick your poison" offense is still in effect at OSU, what with Brandon Weeden looking like a top-flight quarterback and Kendall Hunter running so fast you'd think he was animated by Warner Bros. Which one to guard against will be Troy's biggest question.

"When you can run the football 250 to 300 yards you have a chance to give some folks real problems offensively with play action passes setting up one-on-one opportunities," Blakeney said. "When you've got a guy who can rush it that well and an offensive line that is helping produce the creases for him then you have got to devote numbers to the box. When you devote numbers to the box you single cover receivers."

They'll need to choose wisely. As offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen has said before, he stays with whatever is given to him.

"I just do what works," he said. "Regardless of how it gets done, the overall objective is to move the ball around and score touchdowns. You go through the process of seeing what plays will do well against specific teams and you do your best of getting prepared. If they work then they do."

While Holgorsen is working with an inexperienced, but seemingly steady, 26-year-old quarterback, Troy starts 20-year-old redshirt freshman Corey Robinson. The game will mark his second career start.

"I'm excited," Robinson said. "It's my first big-time opponent. It's what I play the game for - to try and go out there and get a big win against a Big XII school. I'll be nervous a little bit, but that comes with every game. If we go out there and play our game and don't make any mistakes, we can come away with a victory."

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