This is the second in a series of position previews - mostly from my opinions based on spring practice and interviews.
THE SKINNY: It's not always the secondary's fault when a team is second to last in the Sun Belt in pass defense, but this is a group that stands to improve after intercepting just eight passes last year. There is plenty of experience at safety, but the cornerback position could have one starter who hasn't played in a game yet - or a starter that's still young. Troy lost two starters in safety LaDarrius Madden and cornerback Jimmie Anderson.
PROJECTED STARTERS: It's hard to imagine seniors Brynden Trawick and Barry Valcin not being the starting safeties, though junior Cam Hudson is right on their heels. Trawick led the Sun Belt with 123 tackles last year, but had zero interceptions. He's one of the biggest hitters in the conference and if he starts making more plays on the ball, his draft stock will shoot up. Valcin, a sixth-year senior, is now back to the level he was playing at before a bad leg injury derailed his 2010 season, according to defensive coordinator Jeremy Rowell. When senior Bryan Willis has been healthy, he's been pretty good. He was good as a freshman, but not as healthy during his sophomore year, when he lost his starting spot, and during the first part of last year. He turned it on later last season and should go out strong. I'd expect him to man one spot, with the other going to one of several guys - sophomore Ethan Davis, junior college transfer Zach Miller, who is expected to be here for fall camp, freshman Chris Davis, a 2011 signee who grayshirted, freshman Shaq Beverly, who graduated early from high school and went through spring practice, or finally junior college transfer Jeremy Spikner, who was here during spring.
DEPTH: The cornerback depth was mentioned above, as there should be several players who can step in, but it's a very green group but everyone has a fresh start under new corners coach Julius Brown. Beverly was a highly-rated recruit and Spikner was a big get as well, but Miller was a JUCO All-American at Butler County CC in Kansas. If he picks things up quick, he'll play a lot. Troy coaches are expecting that. At safety, Hudson, junior Chris Pickett and redshirt freshman Joe Lofton are next in line. That's an experienced group who just needs to step up and make more plays. Pickett has fallen a bit, as he spent most of the last two years as a starting corner, and was asked a lot right off the bat. He was hurt most of spring but should be ready this fall.
YOUNG GUYS TO WATCH: I think both freshman corners, Beverly and Davis, have lots of upside. They'll get a few chances this year to make plays if they can hold off the junior college transfers.
TOP SECONDARY MOMENT IN MY ERA (since 2005): This will be a common theme - the 2006 season. A week before the New Orleans Bowl, cornerback Elbert Mack's father died. He got to practice during the middle of that week and had a phenomenal game on national television, intercepting two passes. Mack and his father were not close, he said at the time, but I'll never forget that. Mack was a player that made every inch and ounce of his body count and is still in the NFL after going undrafted. Second, I'll throw in Terence Moore's pick-6 at LSU in 2008, which made it 24-3 at the time late in the second quarter and made me think Troy would win that game. That didn't happen, but it was still a positive moment.