Football preview: Troy treks to Murfreesboro for season opener vs. Middle Tennessee

Football preview: Troy treks to Murfreesboro for season opener vs. Middle Tennessee
Troy wide receiver Kaylon Geiger runs the ball against Coastal Carolina last year. The Trojans open their 2020 season Saturday with a road game at Middle Tennessee. (Troy Athletics)

Troy football coach Chip Lindsey knows that Middle Tennessee offensive coordinator Tony Franklin will make his Trojans defend the whole field when they open the season at 3 p.m. Saturday at Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Troy quarterback Gunnar Watson throws a pass during last year’s game with Missouri. The Trojans, who have a full season of games scheduled, are planning this year for COVID-19 contingencies along with their on-the-field opponents. (Troy Athletics)

But Lindsey says that nothing is making his squad “defend the whole field” like the novel coronavirus.

“It’s definitely made you rethink some things,” the second-year Trojans coach said, referring to the need to adapt if players or coaches contract the virus. “It’s made you rethink some things from the standpoint of personnel. If you’re down to your third or fourth quarterback, what do you do then? If you’re short wideouts, does that change the way you play on offense? Or defensively if you’re short D-linemen? Does that make you play more odd fronts?

“All those things are scenarios that we definitely had to think through,” Lindsey continued. “Even coaching-wise, what happens if one of our coaches tests positive for corona? We’ve got a play for that as well. I think the best thing we can do is just try to plan for the unexpected and somewhat hope it doesn’t happen. At the same time, if it does, we’ve got to handle that and move forward.”

The Troy coach calls 2020 the Year of the Unknown. “We’re gonna need everybody at some point,” Lindsey said.

Middle Tennessee opened its season last week with a 42-0 loss to Army.

The pandemic has left the college football schedule in the state with slim pickings this week as the Trojans are the only state team taking the field. UAB and South Alabama are off this week before they face one another next Thursday in Mobile.

Troy coach Chip Lindsey, players talk about their team and the season ahead from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

HIGH SCHOOLS

Class 7A: At 4-0, coach Cris Bell’s Oak Mountain team has climbed to No. 9 in the latest Alabama Sports Writers Association poll. The Eagles will be tested in their quest to remain undefeated as they leave the friendly confines of Heardmont Stadium to visit No. 3 Hoover.

Class 6A: Minor is 3-1 following its 33-28 fall to No. 4 Pinson Valley. This week, the Tigers welcome No. 5 Clay-Chalkville.

Class 5A: No. 5 Faith Academy hosts No. 2 St. Paul’s in a battle of unbeatens. Each is 4-0.

Class 4A: No. 1 American Christian (4-0) heads to No. 2 Bibb County (4-0).

Class 3A: No. 5 T.R. Miller (3-1) entertains No. 9 Bayside Academy (4-0).

Class 2A: Aliceville (3-1) welcomes Cold Springs (3-0).

Class 1A: No. 4 Maplesville (3-1) hosts Loachapoka (2-1).

AISA: Tuscaloosa Academy (1-2) ventures to No. 9 Patrician (2-1).

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