For the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak ended the Troy football team’s spring practices early, head coach Chip Lindsey spoke to the media on April 30 to discuss the spring and outlook of the upcoming season.
While Troy only got five practices in during the abbreviate spring, Lindsey said that one thing that stood out to him during that time was the new group of leaders that are emerging.
“I really like this new group of leaders and just their approach to things,” Lindsey said. “It’s just fun to go to practice with these guys. I think they’re hungry and 5-7 is not who we want to be. There was a lot of motivation in the spring.”
While team meetings are currently restricted to solely virtual meetings, Lindsey said that it hasn’t been a negative for his Trojans.
“To be honest with you, I think our football meetings may be better now than they’ve ever been,” Lindsey said. “With doing thing on Zoom you have all of their attention and we can share the screen and put up drawings and installs or other video up while we’re doing talking. It’s been great actually.”
Lindsey said that the message he and his coaches are sending to the players is that they have to stay ready.
“The message for our team has been that we don’t know when, so you better be ready,” he said of getting back on the field. “It’s important to make sure they see a light at the end of the tunnel. I think sometimes when you’re that age you don’t really realize things are flying by. We’re probably going to get a short notice for when things are back, so you have to stay ready.”
The motto for 2020 for his team is being “Trojan Tough,” according to Lindsey.
“Our motto is ‘Trojan Tough’ right now and that’s what we’re telling our kids,” he said. “We’re going to find out who wants to be here, who wants to play and who loves football. That’s been the focus and we can’t wait to get this team back on campus and get started.”
Lindsey singled out quarterbacks Jacob Free, Gunner Watson and Parker McNeil as the three signal callers that seemed to begin to separate themselves from the pack in the spring.
“I thought those guys separated themselves after five practices,” Lindsey emphasized. “Being on Zoom meetings with those guys wand walking them work has been fun. When you have a competition it can be real fun because you really get to see who’s willing to do the extra work and all the little things.
“All three of those guys have been working their tails off to try and get better as much as they can right now.”
One unique way Lindsey has been attempting to motivate his quarterbacks is having NFL quarterbacks like San Francisco 49er Nick Mullens and New England Patriot Jarrett Stidham meet with them over Zoom.
“(Mullens) talked to our quarterbacks about preparing,” Lindsey said. “In the NFL those guys go home for three or four months after the season and they have to train and watch film and throw on their own. So, it’s similar to what our guys have to do right now.
“Jarrett Stidham talked to them this week, too. We have to find creative ways to motivate our guys and make sure they’re prepared when they get back.”
Lindsey also singled out incoming senior offensive lineman – and former Enterprise Wildcat – Dylan Bradshaw as a leader of up front.
“I thought Dylan did an excellent job last year as our center,” Lindsey said. “He’s a tough, smart guy and he’s what we call a TKG – or a ‘Troy Kinda Guy.’
“He’ll do anything we ask him to do and he’s a huge part up front for us especially from a communication standpoint.”
Lindsey also touched on the possibility of college football being played in empty stadiums this year, as a safety precaution.
“I thought some guys around the country that have talked about this made some good points,” Lindsey continued. “I don’t know how you could not feel good about putting fans in the stands but feel good about putting our players on the field at the same time.
“I don’t see us playing without a crowd there but if they tell us to do that we’ll figure out a way to do it. College football is such a momentum game with playing at home with your crowd, especially at The Vet. It would be different and it would be very odd, but if that is the only way we can play football we would have to come up with a way to figure it out.”