BY DREW CHAMPLIN | firstname.lastname@example.org
TROY – Troy’s home game Saturday with Louisiana-Lafayette holds more meaning for backup quarterback Deon Anthony.
Anthony, who transferred to Troy after a two-year stint at Hinds (Miss.) Community College, is from New Iberia, La., which is about 30 minutes away from Lafayette and the ULL campus.
“They were recruiting me out of high school and when I went to junior college, they stopped recruiting me,” said Anthony, who grew up an LSU fan. “I know a lot of the players there, so it’s going to be huge.”
Anthony, who earned the role as a change-of-pace quarterback with starter Corey Robinson, had five rushes for four yards in Troy’s 39-29 win over UAB Saturday. He did complete both of his passes for 27 yards. Troy’s game with ULL Saturday, the home opener, is at 6 p.m.
“We had a plan all along for him,” Troy offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield said. “Sometimes the course of the game doesn’t allow you to get to the plan you planned. I thought we were able to substitute him some and get his feet wet a little bit, per se.”
Late in the first half with Troy up 17-0, Anthony quarterbacked most of a 98-yard drive for the Trojans, but was pulled for Robinson on a third and goal from the 3-yard line. Robinson fumbled and lost the ball. Edenfield said the play was “designed for Corey, no matter what.”
“(Anthony) just wasn’t ready for that play, not that he can’t do it,” Edenfield said. “Hindsight is (Robinson) didn’t make a good decision there, but I think we learned more from that mistake and that error than we have all through practice.
“Now, we finally understand, ‘Here it is. Take it. Throw it away and let’s live for another down.’ To be able to overcome that and win the game, that mistake is going to help us more down the road than anything.”
With Anthony being a junior just like Robinson, he could have taken his talents to a place where a starting job was waiting for him. Coach Todd Graham recruited Anthony hard at Pittsburgh, but didn’t keep in contact when Graham left for Arizona State. UAB, under new coach Garrick McGee, recruited Anthony. Middle Tennessee also wanted Anthony, but to come play defense. Kentucky was in the mix.
Edenfield wasn’t looking for a quarterback, but was sold on Anthony by his junior college coaches.
“Well, when I first approached him, it was about playing defense,” Edenfield said. “He was not for that. The more I watched him, the more I said this guy is really, really special. My whole decision was based on, if I sign you, we’re going to give you every opportunity to play. You’re going to play.
“I think we still have some other roles that as soon as he gets more comfortable, maybe we could play him at receiver to where we have both of them on the field a little more.
"That would be something we could do down the road, but we’re not ready for that yet. It may be next year. We’d like to let him continue to get reps and continue to get better. Hopefully, we can keep this same rotation without having to make any drastic changes.”
Anthony said he’s just focused on getting better and waiting for his time to come. He could be summoned on at any time, depending on the flow of the game and the down and distance situation.
“If something happens to Corey, I have to be ready right now,” Anthony said. “I have the same focus he has. It doesn’t matter who gets the glory. I’m just trying to win games. When I go in, he’s behind me 100 percent. When he goes in, I’m behind him.”