Troy Trojans open fall camp; 4 vie for QB position
By Hailey Sutton | August 9, 2020 at 11:01 AM CDT - Updated August 9 at 12:28 PM
TROY, Ala. (WSFA) - Chip Lindsey is entering his second year as head coach of the Troy Trojans, and it has been a challenging summer adjusting to a new normal due to coronavirus protocols. But, the return to camp on Aug. 7 gave the Trojans a sense of normalcy ahead of an uncertain season.
It also means they can start focusing on how to get better on the football field, and one of the big questions ahead of kickoff this fall is figuring out who will take the first snap as Troy’s starting quarterback.
With the exit of former Trojan play caller Kaleb Barker, Coach Lindsey is currently watching a four-man competition for the starting job and says all of the guys are capable.
“The guy that will be our starter will be the guy that leads our team the best, the guy that moves the offense up and down the field; it’s not purely based off completions and stats and all that,” said Lindsey, who hopes to have a starter named in the next two weeks.
This will give whoever gets the number one spot a chance to develop much-needed chemistry before the first snap; it also pushes the quartet to train with a sense of urgency to win the job.
“You’ve gotta be pretty perfect to have this job,” said junior quarterback Parker McNeil “because, I mean, the competition here is pretty stellar. So that’s really all I can do is compete and study and just give my best every day.” McNeil is a junior college transfer and was a first team All-American at Navarro College.
“Honestly it’s been fun. We all get along, we have a good time, and we just come out here and compete every day,” added sophomore quarterback Gunnar Watson. “We’re all switching out with the ones and the twos and everything but it’s been really fun. It’s good to get back out here and compete.”
Of course, the offense already looks deadly, returning players like receivers Kaylon Geiger and Khalil McClain, but it was a welcomed sight to see running back BJ Smith make his return after a season ending knee-injury in 2019. The Millbrook native was listed as non-contact on day one, but Lindsey has been happy with his progress and is ready to get him back in the lineup.
“BJ is an unquestioned leader on our team,” said Lindsey. “The great thing about BJ is even when he was hurt last year, he was around all the time and provided that voice, but now, he’s on the field. It looked great to see him moving around, it felt really good and we’re counting on him to be a big part of this thing this year.”
Smith said he spent the summer doing rehab and training and feels like he’s almost back to 100 percent.
“You know, we always appreciate things more when they get taken away from us, so at this point, I’m as grateful as I’ve ever been, so it’s hard not to come out here and be excited,” he said.
The Trojans will continue to hold fall camp through Aug. 12.
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