|Corey Robinson hands it off to Chris Anderson (Danny Tindell photo)|
***Didn't really 'watch' Corey Robinson as I've seen him start 25 games in 2 years. He's going to be much better next year because he's improved individually and the 10 guys around him are much better and more experienced. Last year, most of the guys around him hadn't played a lot of football. This year, they have, and you'll see a big difference in the offense.
***Dallas Tidwell and Luke Barnes both looked pretty poised out there and both made nice throws for touchdowns. Deon Anthony had a nice throw for a TD but he's going to be more of a running QB (not saying he can't throw because he can). He's newer to this offense than the other two guys vying for the backup job, but Troy's in much better hands if Robinson were to get hurt this year. Hopefully that won't happen.
***Shawn Southward and D.J Taylor looked very good running the ball. Chris Anderson had some nice runs, too. Khary Franklin has moved to running back and he got some chances. I wonder if he'll redshirt to give him another year on the back end to compete for more carries and get bigger to take the pounding. Daron White, a redshirt freshman, showed some nice promise.
***It's very nice for the offense to have Jamel Johnson and Chip Reeves back. Eric Thomas and Chandler Worthy picked up where they left off. If I had to guess a guy that'll make a big jump, I'd say Sam Haskins. Maybe that only means 20 catches, but I think he'll have a few big plays this year.
***I wondered about the OL depth but there are plenty of guys getting looks with the first team with Kyle Wilborn, Cody Woodiel and Zach Johnson nursing injuries. The QBs had plenty of time to throw and the backs had lanes to run through. Tommy Stephens has moved to the OL and I'll be interested to see what coaches say about his performance so far.
***The offense looked better than the defense, but the defense is better than it was last year. Only one way to go up, right? It's a hard thing to figure if you're watching a team scrimmage - do you want the offense to roll up some yards and points, or the defense to dominate and thus make the scrimmage 'boring'?
***This has to be the year that Jacoby Thomas has a huge breakout year with his new BANDIT position off the edge. I've always thought he should have played more and now he'll get a chance to validate my claims and thoughts. His backup is Tyler Roberts, a redshirt freshman, and I've heard good things about him.
***Of the backups, Roberts and linebacker Eli Canton were around the ball a lot. Future's bright with those two.
***Brynden Trawick had a pick-6 and a big-time hit on a running back (can't remember which one). The guy can really hit you and is physical against the run. What he needs to do this year is get him a few interceptions and force some fumbles. D.J. Taylor said after the scrimmage that Trawick's going to be playing in the (NFL) next year. From looking at him, I believe it, and I think that now he's in his second year as a starter, he'll really show out.
***Corners played a lot closer to the line than they did last year. That's good to see. Sometimes, receivers ran free against a zone, but plenty of other times, they had some great coverage. I'm looking forward to see their improvement this season.
***The punting was inconsistent. The kickoffs have guys trying to pin it inside the 5 at the corner because of the new touchback rules. That was inconsistent as well, but they're only a couple of weeks trying that. Didn't see any punts blocked, but they were blocking a few in the practice I was at last Tuesday. Will Scott and Jed Solomon kicked field goals from 40 - Scott's leg looked bigger, but Solomon was more consistent on kickoffs. I think Troy can win with those two guys, and Ryan Kay is looming right behind them.