While we still don't know if LSU and Troy will actually play this Saturday, we here at ATVS are going to prepare like there is going to be a game. So here's your early week chatter from around the Troy football program.
Troy head coach Larry Blakeney clearly watched LSU outmuscle Appalachian State on Saturday and knows any chance of an upset for his Trojans lies in negating that advantage.
"This is as good a team that any we have ever played," Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said. "They are well-coached and very disciplined. They play hard and they won't get a lot of penalties that will hurt them. We will have our hands full."
The Trojans came close to taking down the Tigers last time they were defending national champions in 2004, losing 24-20. LSU needed a 30-yard touchdown strike with less than three minutes in the game to beat Troy. Blakeney said to have a chance against LSU this year it comes down to physicality.
"They (LSU) try to hit you in the mouth right away," Blakeney said. "We have to be physical with them and hit them first."
"We were able to go in and survive it," Blakeney said of the 31-17 victory. "But there were a lot of rough spots."
Specifically, Blakeney mentioned two dropped punts, a few missed third-down opportunities and some late-game breakdowns defensively.
The late-game breakdowns were especially troubling, since they allowed MTU back in a game that Troy led 24-3 after three quarters. With a little less than seven minutes to go in the game, the Blue Raiders were within a touchdown.
"Middle came in with a plan to create a situation where they could dink and dunk us and keep the ball as long as they could," Blakeney said. "And they did that for the most part. It really wore our guys down late and (MTU) was able to hit a couple of big plays. We've go to do a better job on our third-down conversions offensively and help out our defense. They were wore out at the end."
First-year Troy offensive coordinator Neal Brown admitted that sophomore quarterback Jamie Hampton’s modest stats were a result of him being conservative.
He said this Thursday after the game, before he had a chance to review film. In Hampton’s first real start — he went out for the opening play last year at Georgia and caught a throwback pass from receiver Gary Banks — the lefty went 17-of-28 for 136 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Hampton ran 11 times for 41 yards and a score.
It's somewhat difficult to find people that care enough to write about anything other than Auburn or Alabama in that state.