It’s full-speed ahead for Troup

Published 2:48 pm Thursday, July 27, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – So far, the Troup Tigers haven’t needed any motivational talks from the coaches to get them going.

Troup wrapped up its second day of preseason practice on Wednesday afternoon, and head coach Tanner Glisson said it has been full-speed ahead so far.

“The deal with this group is, we’re having to reel them back in,” Glisson said. “They are chomping at the bit to play, which is good. We have to make sure we continue to try to be disciplined, and play within the game. But they’re excited. They’ve worked hard, and they’re ready to get back out there. And we’re excited, too.”

Glisson added that “we had to start throwing our scout-team personnel and stuff in there because they’re hungry. They’re getting after each other. That’s a good problem to have.

Troup will be on the back on the field today and Friday as the first full week of GHSA-sanctioned preseason practiced wraps up.

Troup’s players will spend the night at the school on Sunday and Monday for a team camp, and the first full-contact practice is set for Tuesday.

Troup will play a preseason game on Aug. 10, and it opens the season on Aug. 17 against Hardaway.

A year ago, the Tigers embarked on preseason practice after a 1-9 season.

Now, the Tigers are coming off an 8-3 season that included an eight-game winning streak, and they’re looking to keep the momentum going.

Quarterback Montez Crowe, who set multiple school passing records a year ago, said no one is thinking about last season.

“Coming off an eight-win season, after a one-win season, a lot of people look at that and think we can do that again,” Crowe said. “But we’re not worried about that season. We’re worried about this season, and trying to win as many games as possible. We can do it. We know we can do it.”

While there are plenty of returning starters, including Crowe, it’s not the same team.

Gone are some seniors who not only made plays on the field, but provided outstanding leadership.

Still, there’s no doubt the Troup program is trending in the right direction in Glisson’s third year as head coach.

“To be where we are culture-wise, energy-wise, strength wise depth-wise, education-wise, we’ve graduated 100 percent of our kids since I’ve been here, all those things mean a lot,” Glisson said. “And it’s a fun group to coach.”

Glisson added that “it seems like every single day we’re here at this facility, the intensity level is going up. And that’s really good. So we’re excited.”

Glisson will lead an experienced team onto the field this fall.

Troup did lose some key players on offense, including running back Camren Russell and wide receivers Chanse Hill and Ken Truitt, but a whole lot of firepower has returned.

Kobe Hudson had a phenomenal freshman season as a wide receiver, leading the team in touchdowns, MaCenta Stafford was having a big season at receiver before he was lost to injury, and tight end Kenly Bridwell is a potent threat in the passing game.

Jamari Thrash, who played at LaGrange High last season, gives Crowe another weapon in the passing game.

Running backs Tyree Carlisle and Jackson Davis were effective in the ground game last season, and an inexperienced offensive line led by senior Seth Adams should improve game by game.

Troup’s defense is loaded, with nearly everyone returning, including leading tackler Kevin Martin at linebacker, and King Mwikuta on the defensive line.

“It’s a fun group to be around, but every team is different,” Glisson said. “We can’t harp too much on last year, because it’s a whole different year. You lose a little leadership. You have different issues, and you have different team chemistry. So you’ve got to treat every year like it’s a new, fresh year. So that’s kind of where we are right now, trying to figure how who we are, and what are skill sets are, and try to adjust some of the schemes offensively and defensively to what we do best.”

If things come together, the Tigers could be an elite team and they could even play for a region title for a second straight year, but Glisson said the only game that matters right now is the first one.

“We’ll go in there and prepare for the first one and focus on it, and stay in line with the process,” Glisson said.