Troy football opens spring practice March 7
TROY, Ala. (Troy University Athletics) - The defending Sun Belt and Cure Bowl champions take to the field for the first time since December as Troy opens spring practice on Tuesday morning on the grass fields behind Trojan Arena.
For second-year head coach Jon Sumrall, the challenges are easy to identify heading into the 2023 season. The Trojans enter the season with a target squarely on their backs and a reloaded roster charged with filling the roles left by departing seniors.
“I’m extremely grateful for the success that last year’s team had, but it has nothing to do with this year’s team,” Sumrall said. “That is not to diminish what was accomplished last year because so many great things happened. But the 2022 version of Troy Football is not connected to this team.
“It’s the same mantra of how we lived last year, ‘So What, Now What,’” Sumrall said. “It’s the same in 2023, ‘So What, Now What,’ that’s in the past; we must continue to adapt and evolve if our 2023 team wants to succeed.”
Troy will hit the field Tuesday and Thursday next week from 8-10 a.m. for a pair of practices in helmets and shorts before taking the next week off for spring break on Troy’s campus. Once the players return to campus, the Trojans will practice Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday leading up until T-Day on Saturday, April 15.
“There is some good and some bad to both models,” Sumrall said of splitting practice around spring break. “For us, with when we wanted to play the spring game, this was the best way to structure practice. It is important for us to go every other day because it gives us quality meeting times between practices so we can adjust as we go through the spring.”
Positions to Watch
Usually, when a team goes into spring practice, two or three position groups will draw the intrigue of fans and the coaching staff alike. But, for Troy this spring, that intrigue will be all over the field.
Troy lost some key pieces from last year’s championship team with three offensive linemen and a pair of receivers on offense gone, and defensively, five starters, including the all-time leading tackler in FBS history, Carlton Martial, exhausted their eligibility.
Sumrall and his staff were prepared and brought in 38 players via the December and February signing periods, with 21 of the new additions suiting up for Tuesday’s practice.
“As a coach, it’s like Christmas Eve, and we’re about to go and unwrap a bunch of presents,” Sumrall said. “There are so many areas on the field that my eyes are going to want to watch during practice. I’m excited to see how all our players embrace their opportunities to compete.
“We’re adding consistently trying to figure out how we can bolster and strengthen our roster. We’ve got a lot of exciting players, and, in every room, there are several guys who I’m ready to see what they will bring to the table.”
A lot of Troy’s success last season traces back to the culture built within the program. Culture is not built overnight, and for Troy, it’s based on four core values.
“It is going to be extremely important this offseason to get the new to understand what the norms are of our program – what our standards and core values are. The identity of a team can change from year to year, but our values of Attitude, Toughness, Discipline and Love will never change.
“We’re going to be a tough team, both mentally and physically,” Sumrall said. “I will sacrifice a lot of things, but I will not sacrifice the toughness of our football team. We will compete every day, work hard and not back down. That is an area where we still have to grow; I’ll make sure of it because I will not allow us to be comfortable or embrace mediocrity.”
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