Q&A with Troy beat man Drew Champlin

We are lucky to welcome to the blog Drew Champlin of the Dothan Eagle (for now). Drew covers Troy, but is soon making the move to cover UAB and will heading to Conference USA. We’ll see him down the line again. Here’ his take on this week’s game.

1. Has Troy reponded to bottoming out last year?
Yeah, they’re better than they were last year, but it isn’t showing when they turned the ball over so much over the past two games. You can at least see some fight in the Trojans after falling behind early in the two losses but coming back, especially against Mississippi State. But with the rest of the conference improving in talent and facilities, the road back to the top is very difficult.

2. Has Troy’s defense improved at all?
Yeah, but it has given up too many big plays and still has problems in pass coverage. Troy can stop a team on the ground at the line, then give up a 30-yard run. So, there’s still some inconsistency. The defensive line can’t get much pass rush, but the linebackers have been solid and so have the cornerbacks. Most of the big pass plays came in 1-on-1 with the safeties.

3. Corey Robinson looks like he is on fire this year. How good is he playing?
Very well. He’s clicking with his receivers and doing a good job when someone gets past an offensive line that has blocked well. He threw the ball real well against Mississippi State, an SEC defense. The interceptions, one was a receiver not running the right route and he underthrew a ball against MSU because there was blood on the ball from the center (sounds weird, I know) but it probably shouldn’t have been thrown.

4. Does Troy have the playmakers it needs on defense to make a run at a bowl game?
If you asked me this after the UAB game, I’d say yes. If you asked me this after each of the last two games, I’d say no. Most of the upcoming games are closer in talent to UAB, so maybe they can get to 6-6 or 7-5. They can definitely outscore people and that’s what they will probably have to do.

5. How do you see this game going?
Troy probably should win this game but it seems like the Mean Green are more disciplined and doing some good things under McCarney. I like North Texas to control the clock and limit Troy’s big plays on offense, and win. But Troy has done well against teams in green this year.