Alabama NewsCenter 2019 football preview: Troy University

Alabama NewsCenter 2019 football preview: Troy University
Troy senior running back B.J. Smith is preseason player of the year. (Troy University Athletics)

Chip Lindsey is back where he has been before.

The former high school head coach, whose stops include Hoover’s Spain Park High, is now leading the program at Troy University.

“It’s not a lot different from being the head coach at the high school level,” said Lindsey, the former offensive coordinator at Auburn University. “The recruiting aspect is the only difference. At the end of the day, it’s still leading young people and managing a staff and doing the same things I did when I was a head coach before. It’s been a good transition.”

Lindsey replaces Neal Brown, who left the Trojans after three years to take over at West Virginia. Lindsey inherits a program that was 10-3 last season, 11-2 in 2017 and 10-3 in 2016.

“We’ve got a lot of great tradition here,” the new head coach said. “It’s a fun place to be. This is the first place I was a college assistant, so it was fun to come back here. It felt like coming home.”

The 2019 Trojan season kicks off at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, as Troy hosts Campbell University in Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Alabama NewsCenter: What is the outlook for this season?

Chip Lindsey:  I think we have a chance to have a good team. We’ve got some guys back who have played. We lost some key guys at wide receiver and in the secondary. We’ve got a lot of work to get there, but we’ve got good leadership. I think we’ve got a chance to have a good year. It’s obviously about staying healthy … and winning some close games. Our goal is to win the Sun Belt (Conference) championship. That’s our goal every year.

ANC: What is the strength of this year’s team?

Lindsey:  I think the strength will be up front on both sides – the O-line and the D-line. That’s where we have the most experience coming back. We’ve got to lean on those guys to lead us. Hopefully those two groups will play well and we lean on them for success.

ANC: Who are your team’s standouts?

Lindsey:  On offense, I think it starts with our quarterback. He’s a senior named Kaleb Barker. He’s coming off an injury, but I think he’s done a nice job getting back on our team to be a big-time leader. J.L. Gaston is a right tackle who’s played a lot; he’s a senior. I’m excited about him, and then Kirk Kelley plays left guard for us. I think those three guys on offense have to do a great job of leading our offense and heading in the right direction. On defense, Jarvis Hayes is coming off a shoulder injury in the offseason, but we’re really pleased with him (at defensive end). Will Choloh and Marcus Webb are guys up front on the D-line. I also want to mention B.J. Smith. He’s a senior running back and he’s preseason player of the year.

ANC: What games do your fans have circled on your schedule?

Lindsey:  We have a great home schedule because the best teams in our league since 2006, we’re getting to play them at home. Nonconference, our opener with Campbell is huge. And we’ve got Southern Miss two weeks later at home, which is a great game. Two great programs, two great traditions. Then we get into our conference schedule with Arkansas State, South Alabama, Georgia Southern, App (Appalachian) State. Our fans will be excited about our home schedule.

ANC: What is your lingering question?

Lindsey: We have some young guys who are going to have to step up for us in the secondary. I think you’re always anxious to see how they play. And we have new wide receivers because we lost two very good ones last year; they’re both in the NFL. Those are two areas we’re excited about, but we’re ready to see them do it and get some quality time on the field.

Download or print a complete schedule of all 15 Alabama college football programs, including Troy, here.

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