Troy Trojans aiming to cure defensive problems

The Troy Trojans are trying to rebuild from a disappointing

season, especially on defense.

Coach Larry Blakeney said at Saturday’s media day the Trojans

are better and deeper than the team that went 3-9 after winning

five straight Sun Belt Conference championships.

”We’re not there yet. We aren’t close,” Blakeney said after

his team scrimmaged in front of a couple hundred fans at Veterans

Memorial Stadium. ”But I think we are better as a team. We

understand team better than we have in a while. The team concept is

what really glues you together when you start into a season and try

to accomplish a championship and a bowl.”

The Trojans finished 113th nationally in total defense last

season and allowed 38-plus points seven times. That’s a big reason

they fell to their first losing season since 2005 and the worst

record of Blakeney’s 21-year tenure.

Blakeney said there’s more depth across the board on

defense.

Linebacker Brannon Bryan said chemistry is another noticeable

difference.

”A lot of guys would run through a brick wall for each other,”

Bryan said. ”I’m not sure last year there was a whole lot of that.

We want to play for the guy next to us.”

Blakeney signed a recruiting class heavy on defense. That

includes Southern California transfer cornerback T.J. Bryant and

junior college cornerback Zach Miller, a likely starter.

The offense, meanwhile, returns 10 starters and quarterback

Corey Robinson is closing in on a number of Troy’s career passing

marks. Robinson sees positive signs so far in preseason camp.

”It’s been the most grueling offseason I’ve been a part of at

any level,” Robinson said. ”I definitely feel like we’ve worked

hard enough to get back on top.”