Troy looks to fill missing pieces

Troy coach Larry Blakeney isn’t panicking yet, but he does realize the situation his program is in needs to be addressed soon.

With about three weeks until national signing day, Troy is without an offensive coordinator and a running backs coach. Neal Brown took the offensive coordinator position at Texas Tech and Chad Scott followed to be the running backs coach. Both coaches also were good recruiters, so this past weekend was spent reaffirming commitments to players who were recruited by those coaches.

“I think we’re going to be OK,” Blakeney said regarding the players Brown and Scott had recruited. “Recruiting is affected sometimes by who’s there, but the main thing is what we’ve done already.”

Blakeney said he has both internal and external candidates to fill the offensive coordinator position and that he feels confident that he’ll find the right guy. Blakeney said he’s already talked to current offensive line coach John Schlarman, inside receivers coach Kenny Edenfield and outside receivers coach Shayne Wasden about possibly filling the role.

“We’ve got some good names and we’ve already sort of pounded them a little bit on meeting and talking to them about who fits here or there,” Blakeney said. “We’re trying to make sure we stay as close to people that understand and have actually worked in this system as much as possible. We’ve got some candidates possibly, but we’re nowhere close to making it happen yet.”

Blakeney said ideally he’d like to have all of his open positions filled before signing day on Feb. 3. In addition to filling the offensive coordinator and running backs positions, he needs to fill either a quarterback or receivers coach slot.

Whoever the Trojans pick to lead the offense will inherit a deep and talented group. The Trojans return seven players on offense, including star receiver Jerrel Jernigan and the running back duo of DuJuan Harris and Shawn Southward. Troy also returns quarterback Jaime Hampton, who was the starter in 2008 before suffering a season ending knee injury. He sat out this season to be ready to take the starting roll in 2010, but he’ll have a couple young guys challenging him this spring.

“Having the quarterback back is a key thing,” Blakeney said. “And then we have some guys who have played a little bit, which should make the situation a little easier.”