Larry Blakeney and several players gathered Monday at the Courtyard Marriott in Troy to talk about their first game of the season, in Birmingham, against UAB.
Saturday's meeting between the Trojans and Blazers will be the 10th all-time. Troy leads the series 5-4.
Here are some highlights from the Troy presser:
Head Coach Larry Blakeney
On first week of the season
We are closing in on the opener. It’s a game that is sort of an unknown. It’s certainly a rivalry game and it’s certainly across conference lines, Sun Belt versus Conference USA. The game means a lot to us and it means a lot to them, and it means a lot to our administration and our people and UAB’s people.
I think we’re a better team than we’ve been. I think we are approaching readiness, as far as being ready to go in and play hard and hopefully play a flawless game. A game in which we don’t have a lot of penalties, a game where we don’t turn it over, and maybe we can get some turnovers, and our kicking game is solid and sound. All of the things that are elements, basically the elements are turnovers, one way or the other. You’ve got to have a low number of penalties. It’s all about field position.
I expect it to be a hard fought game. It’s always been that way. We want to make sure we don’t disappoint anybody, but I’m looking forward to the week.
On approaching an 11:00 a.m. kickoff
I think depth could be an issue at 11 o’clock in the morning. We have to deal with early kicks, we have to deal with late kicks, and we have to deal with all kind of kicks. I think we’re deeper than we’ve been; maybe since a couple of years back. We’ve got a lot of people playing. We’ve got a high number on both sides of the ball that we can put out there. We do have some guys who are limited to the amount that we can put them out there. Depth I think will be important to being fresh.
On picking up a win to start the 2012 season
It’s a huge target game. It’s an in-state rivalry. We certainly need to win the game to get off to a positive start. Our schedule is tough.
On Troy’s 2010 last-second loss at UAB
It was one of the toughest losses I’ve ever been through. We’ve had some tough loses since I’ve been here, but that one was pretty tough. We certainly dealt with it well. We continued on, even though we lost that game up there, but we used it. It was a tough, tough ordeal to go through for me, the players, our coaches and our people. And the game last year was almost the same.
On QB Corey Robinson and the Troy offense
Corey’s a guy that we closely scrutinize through practice. Every practice he is graded and he is a guy that we count on. He knows the offense. He has a great throwing stroke. He’s not going to beat you running, but hopefully we will have a running attack that will balance us offensively and help Corey.
On 2012 defense
It’s hard to compare them. We’ve had some pretty good players here over the years. When we were good enough to get off the field on defense, there was always three of four guys over there to make plays for you. We’re young in some areas, but I think we’re good enough and deep enough in the front seven. We are certainly more gifted in the secondary across the board. It’s a matter of executing, getting the call and getting after it on defense.
Quarterback Corey Robinson
On the opening week of the 2012 season
“We want to get off to a better start than we did last year. That’s what we’ve been working for, for the past six or seven months. We’re tired of seeing the same defense, just like they are tired of seeing us every day. I think we are ready to get up there and play somebody else.”
On in-state rivalry
“We as players try to treat it as any other game. We’re trying to treat each game one step at a time and get as many wins as possible. We always like to get after UAB just like they want to get after us.”
On 2010 loss at UAB
“That was a heartbreaker. We ended up going to a bowl game so it worked out.”
On 2012 offense and how it has progressed through preseason practice
“We’ve got a bunch of guys this year who are experienced. We’ve got some guys that know the playbook and know where the holes are in the defense. I’m pretty excited about the guys that I’ve got this year. The offensive line has been progressing every day. You’ve got Kyle Wilborn who is an experienced veteran up there. I definitely feel like this is going to be a good offense and we have to go out there and execute.”
On the 2012 team
“I definitely feel like we’ve got a bunch of guys who have the will to win and want to win really badly. I feel like this year we are going to get it done.”