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Five Things to Watch as Troy Begins Spring Practice

The Trojans are shooting for a Sun Belt title in 2017.

Troy v Clemson
Will this be Neal Brown’s final year at Troy?
Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images

This week it all changed for the guys at Troy as the 2016 season is officially closed and the 2017 squad is putting on the helmets and pads for the first time this spring. A Sun Belt title should be very well in reach for Troy this fall and to do that growth must take place and questions must be answered this spring. Here we’ll go over five different items to watch out for in the Trojans’ spring session.

The Health of Brandon Silvers

NCAA Football: Troy at Southern Mississippi
Troy needs Silvers at 100% as fast as possible.
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

It was announced this week that Silvers was to be out for all of spring football. Neal Brown reported that Silvers had some type of surgery on his throwing hand and won’t be able to throw for a month. Silvers has been a starter for Troy since his redshirt freshman season in 2014 and should be one of the leaders this fall. He will be many media members’ pick to be all-conference, so it’s essential that he’s taking the shotgun snaps in this Air Raid offense. However, his absence will give the coaching staff a chance to build for the future. QBs Kaleb Barker and Sawyer Smith should both get long looks this spring. Either way, someone will have huge shoes to fill in 2018.

Development of Jamarius Henderson

NCAA Football: Memphis at Kansas
Henderson gives Troy another playmaker on the edge.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The transfer from Memphis has the chance to make a world of difference for this Troy offense. As we’ve mentioned previously, Henderson put up solid numbers at Memphis as a rookie and could be the most explosive player on Troy’s roster. The Midland City, Alabama native is a perfect compliment to bruising tailback Jordan Chunn and will give Silvers yet another weapon to throw to out of the backfield. It’ll be interesting to see how Troy uses him this spring and if they give him a chance to be a legit pass catcher or just a straight up backup to Chunn.

Replacing Antonio Garcia

NCAA Football: Troy at Southern Mississippi
Who will replace Garcia’s 42 career starts?
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The big man was a rock at left tackle for Troy last season as QB Brandon Silvers had very little to worry about on his blindside all year. Now the former Trojan is expected to be taken in the third round and Troy has a big void to fill. Kirk Kelley seems to be the favorite entering spring, but a lot of questions should be answered by April 15th. Neal Brown believes that Garcia was Troy’s best player on offense and there are some pretty big shoes to fill at left tackle. Best case scenario is that Troy finds their left tackle of the future going into fall camp.

Defensive Position Changes

Troy defensive coordinator Vic Koenning has decided to make some switches up front and we’ll see how it pays off for Troy’s front seven. Koenning and Brown have decided to kick productive defensive tackle Seth Calloway out to defensive end and defensive end Sam Lebbie up to linebacker. Calloway was very effective as a run stopper last season while Lebbie was a very serviceable backup at DE. Troy brought in a fair amount of talent upfront and these moves could be made to make some room for talented JUCO DE Rasool Clemons.

Who Replaces Ryan Kay?

Troy v Wisconsin
Kay was as dependable as they come as a kicker and punter.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In Troy’s spring football release, Brown believed Kay left the biggest hole on the entire team and it’s difficult to disagree with him. The Trojans should be in good hands with Tyler Sumpter at punter, but kicker is where the big questions are. The Trojans will bring on freshman Evan Legassey this fall, so they may just have to wait for the answer. Kay was arguably the program’s all-time best kicker, so you could expect the level of play to drop in 2017. This could be Troy’s biggest weakness this fall.